Education minister urges Australian universities to open campuses in India, raises student visa issue

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Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is on a four-day visit to Australia to strengthen Indo-Australian ties and collaborate in education, research and skills development. He visited various schools, colleges and training establishments in Sydney on Monday. The minister is co-chairing the sixth meeting of the Australia India Education Council with his counterpart Jason Clare.

Ahead of the meeting, the Minister for Education raised the issue of pending visas for Indian students traveling to Australia. He said the Australian government was keen on expediting visas as well as establishing university-to-university collaborations to offer dual degree programs. Pradhan added that Australian universities and training institutes are welcome to establish their campuses in India and also explore areas of collaboration.

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Pradhan also visited Homebush West Public School in the state of New South Wales to gain insight into academic excellence frameworks and best practices in universalizing early childhood education. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said affordable, accessible and universal early education for children is essential for better learning outcomes and a brighter future for all.

He further stated that best practices and positive experiences in early childhood education and digital learning in NSW can be replicated in India to make early childhood care and education equitable and accessible, and to strengthen child protection settings, especially after school hours.

He further said that India is also setting up a multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted Gati Shakti University with the aim of creating a next generation of skilled professionals to support the growth of the logistics, infrastructure development and transport sector. The Minister and HE Jason Clare also visited the TAFE NSF Institute of Applied Technology.

Prior to his departure for Australia, the Minister said that India-Australia bilateral relations were aimed at opening up opportunities for both sides to establish the knowledge economy as a key pillar of cooperation. “The tour will add momentum to our unity of purpose, help build transnational knowledge bridges, further expand our engagements at all levels in all areas of learning, skills, research, innovation and entrepreneurship and will deepen interpersonal relationships,” he added.

Pradhan is also due to visit the Kangan Institute and Deakin University in Melbourne. “He will meet with academics and leaders from Australia’s education and skills ecosystem and the vibrant Indian diaspora residing in Melbourne. Pradhan will hold a virtual bilateral meeting with MP Brendan O’Connor, Minister for Skills and Training.

— with PTI entries

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