Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Piyush Goyal on Thursday said that education will act as a bridge between India and Australia, highlighting that both countries will soon be starting dual degree programmes for students.
Goyal and Dan Tehan, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment of Australia said they are working on a dual degree programme under the trade agreement with an aim to enhance collaboration between universities of both countries.
Union Commerce Minister Goyal who was in the University of New South Wales (NSW) in Sydney, said, “I invite the University of New South Wales to expand its footprints in India and enable students on both sides to gain.”
Goyal is in Australia for a three-day visit after inking India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA).
Goyal said that both sides are working on a dual degree programme and the move would help in recognising each other’s degrees, and course contents.
“A lot of the good work that researchers come out with does not get that kind of scale and opportunity to operationalise and therefore the partnership between the two countries can truly transform the lives of Australia and India,” Goyal said while addressing students at the University of NSW, Sydney.
He added, “I believe that such partnerships are important for the world as we increase our strategic engagements between Australia and India. Education will act as a bridge between the two countries, it has always been an important element of our partnership.”
Under the dual degree programme between the countries, students would be allowed to study the course for a few years in one country and a few years in another country India, subject to certain norms.
Australian Minister Tehan said if you are an Indian student or Australian student, you will be able to do one or two years of your degree in Australia and one-two year in India and with this collaboration between universities will grow.
Tehan said, “It is absolutely vital that we educate Indian students in Australia and also use that as a basis to grow education relationships between two nations. I want to see Australian students flocking to India to get educated.”
“We are working on a dual degree where you do part of your degree in Australia and part of your degree in India, you can mix and match. It will be a wonderful opportunity,” he added.
The dual degree programme will help bring quality education to more and more Indians, and get more exposure, experience, new skill sets and knowledge, Goyal has said.
Indian students at the University also expressed hope that trade deals will provide more opportunities for them in jobs.
Naveen, an Indian student said that the collaboration between the two countries will create opportunities for both nations.
“In terms of the deal, I think, its more collaboration between two countries, and how opportunities can be explored from both ends– be it start-ups, energy sector or other sectors as well. I think it depends upon how we explore different sectors within those two countries. There is a lot to find and do as well. I think Australia has its own resources, which can be used in India. With COVID opening a lot of doors, it’s great we are looking forward to a new future,” said Naveen.
Talking about the increase in the timeline of visas that has been extended to three years, Naveen said, “As far as my expectations are concerned, I want to stay here longer which has been done as the timeline of the visa has been extended up till three years which is great. That gives us a lot of opportunities in finding the job we like. It also gives us time to stay here and explore the culture, and opportunity.”
Another student, Shreya said that the IndAus Agreement is expected to bring a lot of business to India.
“I expect this deal to bring a lot of business to India. It has increased the working rights of the students. It will give us a lot of exposure and will get to work in a different environment here in Australia. We will be able to get back the expertise to India,” said Shreya.
Talking about the difficulties in getting jobs in Australia, she said, “It depends on a degree which you are pursuing. A lot of companies have restrictions on employing citizens only with permanent residence, so it gets a little difficult, but it’s just a process we have to go through it. Eventually, your hard work pays off.”
Goyal and Tehan also paid tributes to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the University campus.
ECTA is the first trade agreement of India with a developed country after more than a decade and provides for an institutional mechanism to improve trade between the two countries.
Australia is the 17th largest trading partner of India and India is Australia’s 9th largest trading partner. The ECTA is expected to almost double the bilateral trade from USD 27.5 bn (2021) to about USD 45 to USD 50 Billion in the next 5 years. ECTA is expected to create new employment opportunities, raise living standards and enhance the overall welfare of the people of both countries. Additional employment generation is expected to be 10 lakhs within the next 5 years.