India, Australia sign deal to recognize qualifications.

India and Australia on Thursday signed a framework mechanism for mutual recognition of educational and skill qualifications to ease the mobility of students and professionals between the two countries.

The agreement was signed following a bilateral meeting between Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan and his Australian counterpart Jason Clare, who is on an official tour to India till March 5. The agreement is part of the commitment made at the second India-Australia virtual summit held on March 21, 2022, wherein the Prime Ministers of both countries agreed to establish a joint task force for mutual recognition of qualifications.

The Union education ministry, in a statement, said a task force was accordingly set up comprising senior officials of education and skills ministries and regulators on both sides.

“It has come up with a comprehensive mechanism that covers both education and skill qualifications of the two countries and will help facilitate two-way mobility of young people for education and employment purposes by mutually recognising various levels of education and skill qualifications,” it said.

Addressing the media, Pradhan said Australia and India are aligned to make the knowledge pillar a key aspect of the bilateral relationship. “The developments today will create more opportunities for two-way mobility, empower citizens and pave the way for making education the biggest enabler in taking India-Australia bilateral relationship to greater heights and add vigour to realising shared aspirations,” he added.

Besides, the two countries also signed 11 institutional memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for collaborations, the ministry said.

In his address, Clare said Australia is very keen to broaden the partnership between the two countries in the field of education as well as skilling.

“The agreement signed today will make it easier for students to study in each other’s countries and also provide recognition to various levels of education and skill qualifications,” he added.

Presently, 70,000 Indian students are studying in Australia with most of them enroled in higher educational institutions and vocational training institutions.

Pradhan said the pendency of Australian visa applications from Indians was also brought up again during the meeting. “The pendency of four lakh (400,000) visa applications from Indians has been reduced in the last five months. Still a sizeable number is pending,” he said. “The issue was again discussed at the bilateral forum when we spoke of student mobility.”

Clare said Australia is working on “top priority basis” to clear the pendency of education visas for Indian students.

Appreciating the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the Australian minister said, “It is breathtaking in scope and will transform India by giving a big push to jobs, businesses, economic productivity and creating opportunities in all areas.”

He further said that Australian universities are enthusiastic to work with their Indian counterparts through the mechanism of joint/dual degrees or twinning of institutes that have been recently facilitated under the NEP-2020. “The Australian government will be contributing 1.89 million dollars for a running skills programme in India in the area of agriculture, which is a critical sector for India,” said Clare.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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