The Department endeavours to provide the latest policy advice and country specific information to inform education and research engagement with priority partners overseas. This information is used to inform cooperation with partner ministries and departments of education, training and research, and with respective institutions in these sectors in India.
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MOU and agreements
The Australian Government has the following agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with India in place:
- India MOU on Cooperation in VET - signed 3 June 2020
- India MOU on Cooperation in Education and Training - signed 24 August 2015
- India Student Mobility & Welfare MOU - 2012
- India Extension of Biotechnology MOU - 2011
- India Biotechnology MOU - 2006
- India Education Exchange Programme MOU - signed 23 October 2003
- India Science and Technology MOU - signed 23 October 2003
- Mechanism for the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications between Australia and India -signed 2 March 2023
Australia and India have a long-standing and positive relationship in education, skills and research. Cooperation in these fields is a priority for the bilateral relationship, including under the Australia India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
Many Indian students have studied with Australia since the launch of the Colombo Plan scholarships in 1951, with India being the second largest source of our international education student community.
Qualifications Recognition Mechanism
Australia’s Education Minister, the Hon Jason Clare MP travelled to India in March 2023 to meet with the Indian Education Minister, the Hon Shri Dharmendra Pradhan. The Ministers jointly signed the first ever Mechanism for the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications between Australia and India.
The mechanism was finalised in November 2022 by the Australia-India Education Qualifications Recognition Taskforce. The purpose of the mechanism is recognition of school, VET and higher education qualifications to facilitate access to higher education and general employment.
The mechanism is an important milestone for the bilateral relationship and will strengthen economic and educational ties between Australia and India. The mechanism will support further cooperation, mobility and linkages between students, researchers, academics, and institutions of both countries.
Future TNE arrangements between Australia and India
On 2 May 2022, the Indian University Grants Commission (UGC) gazetted regulations that will allow Indian and foreign universities, including Australian universities, to offer twinning, joint and dual degrees. These regulations will implement the Indian Government’s commitment under the National Education Policy 2020 and apply to Australian universities in the top 1000 of Times Higher Education or QS World University rankings. They allow Indian and foreign universities to offer twinning, joint and dual degrees in the same disciplines or subject areas at the same qualification level.
At the Australia India Education Council on 22 August 2022, Australia and India’s Education Ministers agreed to establish a working group on transnational education to build shared understanding of the regulatory settings in both countries and promote opportunities for two-way mobility of students and institutions.
Further information on the Future TNE arrangements between Australia and India is available. The department’s staff at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi has developed a Note on the UGC regulations, outlining the important details of these new arrangements.
Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Education Institutions in India
India’s University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved regulations that will allow the establishment and operation of foreign university branch campuses in India. These regulations implement the Indian Government’s commitment under the National Education Policy 2020 to internationalise India’s higher education sector. The Regulations were published in UGC’s website on 8 November 2023.
The Regulations will regulate the entry and operations of foreign universities/Institutions in India to conduct certificate, diploma, degree, research and other programs at the undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and post-doctoral levels.
Until now Australian universities have not been able to establish branch campuses in India, except for at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City).
All applications to establish a foreign branch campus must be submitted directly to the UGC. The application portal and frequently asked questions can be found at the UGC foreign higher educational institutions website. The regulations will provide for foreign universities ranked in the global top 500 or top 500 subject rankings, or those institutions with exceptional expertise in a specific area, to establish and operate a branch campus in India.
The Department of Education staff have developed a Note on the UGC regulations, outlining important details of the new regulatory settings.
The Department of Education will continue to work closely with the UGC to understand next steps.
Australia India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the India Economic Strategy (IES) Update 2022
Australia’s education engagement with India is guided by the Australian Government’s response to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and An India Economic Strategy (IES) to 2035: Navigating the Potential to Delivery. This report was updated on 22 March 2022 to highlight a five-year action plan that recognises and responds to the impact of the global pandemic.
The Department works closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Austrade to deliver on education priorities outlined in the CSP and the IES update. This includes expanding from traditional forms of learning to diverse modes of delivery, such as online education offerings and blended forms of learning.
The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) reflects the growing significance of the Australia-India bilateral relationship, a shared commitment to a stable Indo-Pacific region and the intention to collaborate in key areas of mutual interest.
Australia India Ministerial Dialogues
November 2023 meeting
The Australia India Education and Skills Council (the Council) had its first meeting in Gandhinagar, India on 6 November 2023.
During the meeting, Ministers recognised the work of the former Australia India Education Council which held six meetings and decided in the last meeting, held in Sydney in 2022, to include a focus on skills cooperation and rename the council as Australia India Education and Skills Council (AIESC). The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the AIESC as the primary bilateral dialogue between Australia and India on education, skills and research and set a joint forward agenda for the Australia-India education relationship.
August 2022 meeting
Australia and India’s education ministers meet annually to discuss mutual priorities in education under the Australia India Education Council (AIEC). The 6th AIEC was hosted in Australia on 22 August 2022.
In reflecting on the importance of skills to the continued growth and development of both nations, the Ministers agreed to expand the remit and rename their joint forum as the Australia India Education and Skills Council.
It is proposed that the inaugural meeting of the Australia India Education and Skills Council take place
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment works closely with the Australia India Institute to progress a range of education related projects. A key achievement has been the creation of the Australian Researcher Cooperation Hub – India (ARCH-India), which supports increased research and collaboration between Australia and India.
The Institute released three reports commissioned by the Australian Government in 2021. These reports can be found on the Australia India Institute website.
- Strengthening Australia-India research collaboration and engagement: Case studies and good practices. This report focuses on deepening research collaboration and highlighted raising awareness of India, including through language and cultural studies, among Australian students and researchers as a key method of building long-term relationships.
- Exploring the ramifications of India’s National Education Policy 2020 for engagement. This report on the NEP recommends the Australian education sector take advantage of India’s ambitious reform agenda through measures such as establishing joint PhD programs and increased collaboration by teachers in both countries.
- Indian student mobility to Australia: developing the knowledge base for more effective engagement. This report on Indian student mobility to Australia recommended the Australian education sector draw on the large Indian diaspora, which includes thousands of alumni from Australian institutions, and its networks to better connect with Indians considering study in Australia.