Two Australian government universities, Deakin University and University of Wollongong, will be the first foreign education institutions to set up campuses in GIFT City, Gujarat. Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan made the announcement on Wednesday in the presence of Australia’s Minister for Education Jason Clare, and former Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist.
“In next week, another glorious chapter will be added. Two universities are coming to India. University of Wollongong and Deakin University will set up a campus in GIFT city of Gujarat. This is a step forward. India is committed to become a developed country in the next 25 years and to achieve that status we have to give focus on education,” Mr. Pradhan said during a student engagement programme at Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi.
The Australian Minister for Education is on a visit to India from February 28 to March 4 to foster India-Australia relations in the field of education. Mr. Gilchrist is the global brand ambassador of the University of Wollongong. The guests at the event included Australian High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell, and a delegation of Vice-Chancellors or Provosts of 21 Australian universities.
Mr. Clare shared his country’s journey in the field of education in the past 50 years, and said that half a decade ago only 18% of children in Australia finished high school, a figure that was now at 90%. Similarly, only 7% finished a university degree, but today one in two does, he said.
“Twelve years into the future, under the National Education Policy 2020, by 2035, 50% of Indians would be in vocational or higher education. Over the next 10 years, something like two or three million Australians will go to a university, but in India in the next 10 years, 38 million or 39 million will do so. This is nation changing. This could mean one in four people who graduate from a university will graduate from here in India,” the Australian Minister said.
There are about 70,000 Indian students studying in Australia. In the past 17 years, more than 1.5 million students have studied in Australia and more than 1,700 lecturers have an Indian ancestry, he said.
On Thursday, 10 MoUs will be signed between Indian and Australian universities. The two sides will also sign the Mechanism for the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications which locks in the rules for mutual recognition to access education in both countries, in other words an undergraduate degree obtained in Australia will be recognised in India and enable graduates to pursue M.A. and Ph.D here.
“This is the broadest and most favourable recognition that India has signed with any country today,” Mr. Clare added.