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Demographically, over 65% of the Indian population is under the age of 35, making it one of the youngest countries in the world, an enormous asset for its growth and progress. It stands to utilise the youth bulge to propel its global standing as a productive and energetic nation, provided it gives them the necessary skills, training and education.
The recently launched report by Peter Varghese, “An India Economic Strategy to 2035” has identified India’s education sector as the top sector for investment and engagement. The report says that by 2022 India will have over 400 million tertiary ready youth, a sector in which both sides should establish research and development cooperation for mutual benefits.
According to India’s University Grants Commission there are currently 819 universities which comprises of 47 central universities, 367 state universities, 123 deemed universities and 282 private universities, but according to a 2006 report of India’s Knowledge Commission, the country requires 1500 universities, to cater to 15 percent enrolment rate annually in the higher education.
As the second largest source of Indian students in Australia, there are year-to-date (YTD, March 2016 data) 51809 full-fee paying Indian students in Australia, including 32336 enrolled in higher education, 16944 in vocation education and training (VET), 2159 in English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS), 193 in other non-award courses and 177 in schools.
Australia cannot possibly provide education to millions of Indian youths on its soil, and therefore can encourage its VET sector to explore skill development and training opportunities in India.
While the two sides have built institutional mechanisms to foster knowledge partnerships, internationalisation and higher degree research linkages, much remains to be achieved in improving the articulation of standards, research standards, education and teaching quality and infrastructure and post-degree job viability for students.
This initiative seeks to address the challenges and opportunities facing the Indian higher education and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector by building and facilitating research and technical collaborations between Australia and Indian in the higher education and TVET sectors. This initiative will generate a deeper understanding of India’s education and training needs for the benefit of Australian VET and higher education industry. This will be achieved through research projects, joint workshops and policy dialogues in Australia, India and bilaterally.
As a part of the SMART program Ms Anit Girgla presented a very informative presentation on building research capabilities and skills for the SMART interns. The interns in their feedback noted the richness of the presentation for enhancing their research capabilities and understanding of higher degree research requirements, standards and ethical requirements.
As a part of the SMART program a distinguished oration was delivered by Mr Matthew Hayden AM on “Bush to Baggy Green” on 9th August. The program was organised collaboratively by the Institute for Australia India Engagement, OP Jindal Global University, Centre for Sports, Law, Business & Governance, JGU and India News. This oration aimed at motivating students and youth and helping them sharpen their leadership skills and build self-confidence. In addition to the SMART interns other key speakers included Prof C. Rajkumar, Vice Chancellor, JGU, Prof. Shaun Star and Dr Ashutosh Misra.
As a part of the program SMART interns contributed articles for India News and IAIE newsletter on areas of their interests, addressing various aspects of the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.