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New agenda set for Australia-India education cooperation

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Australian and Indian politicians have met to set mutual key priorities for cooperating in education and training at the inaugural meeting of the Australia-India Education Council (AIEC) in New Delhi. Jointly chaired by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Jobs, Chris Evans and India’s Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal, the meeting was a further step in a "deep and enduring" bilateral relationship, Evans said. "Today’s meeting of the AIEC provides a critical forum for leaders representing government, education and training organisations and industry to identify strategic goals of mutual benefit to both nations in further strengthening the bilateral education, training and research relationship." The two ministers also met as part of the Annual India-Australia Ministerial Dialogue on Education Cooperation. In the wake of a series of attacks on Indian students in Australia, the pair agreed to sign a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) on Student Mobility and Welfare. Both countries agreed to implement measures to enhance the safety and welfare of students and strengthen the monitoring of education agent activities. The Ministers also launched a new bilateral Australian India Education Links website as an information portal and welcomed initiatives to increase cooperation and collaboration agreed during the India Australia Vice-Chancellors’ and Senior University Executives’ Workshop held in Delhi on 31 July. Senator Evans said the meetings are reflective of both Australia’s and India’s commitment to education and training. "Australia has a long relationship with India when it comes to bilateral cooperation in education and training," Evans said. In 2009, Indian students made up 18 percent of Australia’s foreign student population, contributing approximately $30,000 per person each year to the Australian economy. "Both countries have high ranking tertiary education institutions, strong vocational and education training initiatives funded by our respective governments and robust economies that require highly skilled workforces." The AIEC will meet annually in conjunction with the Annual India-Australia Ministerial Dialogue on Education Cooperation.

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