Source: DNA India

What are the growing trends in international collaborations?
Since there are different types of universities in India, there is no standard model. Thus, universities in Australia and India are looking at different options. A collaboration which is popular among universities these days at the undergraduate and postgraduate level is allowing students to start studying some subjects in one country, and finishing it in the other. There are a number of growing trends, but universities generally try to discuss options among themselves and figure out which one works best for them.

Tell us about the quality of education in Australia?
In Australia there are 42 universities and eight of those are among the top 100 in the world.  We’re very strict with our quality and all our universities work under the Australian Qualifications Framework. The general focus of all universities is to fulfil all the criteria and rules of the Framework and then over a couple of years get the teaching and research standards tested. We have regulators who monitor universities and ensure that students are taught properly.  There is a continuous check to ensure that universities continuously prove that they are delivering quality services to students as per international standards.

How can India and Australia collaborate?
Some of the challenges that India is dealing with, has already been faced by Australia because our climates are similar. So we have already attempted some of the innovations that India is thinking about with regards to water policy, how to get water to people’s homes etc. Agriculture is another important sector for collaboration since India produces as many agricultural products as Australia but a significant amount of it is lost through storage and transport.

What about collaboration in education?
Indian institutions have fantastic academic structure, thus allowing ample scope for tie ups. For example, a collaboration between Queensland University of Technology with some Indian Government agencies focused on improving the quality of bananas. Not only did it ensure more number of bananas for people to eat, but it also improved people’s health. It’s a classic case where Australia’s and India’s interests combined.

What are the key trends in International market in terms of education?
There are two trends I’d like to point out with regards to India. In 2004, majority of students coming from India were going to university but now majority of them are doing vocational skill training. The second trend is that out of the students going to the universities, the majority are doing masters degrees rather than bachelor degrees. It indicates that Indian universities are getting better and a lot more students are doing their first degree in India and then planning to study overseas.

What are the plans of Australian Government in India with regard to education?
Our plans are focused towards the education relationship between the two countries rather than recruitment. It’s about being involved in partnerships wherein students and researchers move back and forth with scholarships and other schemes and benefit both countries.