India and New Zealand have decided to establish a joint education council to carry forward the education cooperation between the two countries. Both the countries have already signed an Education Exchange Programme during Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal's visit to New Zealand.

 The joint council was formally announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his New Zealand counterpart John Key here on Tuesday.

Equally-funded initiative

The council will be a jointly-funded programme aimed to enhance bilateral cooperation in higher education, research, and skills development. The total funding for the initiative is expected to be NZ$1 million a year with both India and New Zealand contributing equally. The University Grants Commission will provide the funds for India.

It is expected that this initiative will strengthen the relationship between the two countries further and promote academic, industry links and open up opportunities for education services collaboration. The Education Council will become the flagship programme of the education relationship between the two countries which will encourage in building knowledge and awareness among young business leaders from both countries through scholarships and internships in each other's business schools and industrial enterprises.