New Delhi, April 10.
Welcoming the Australian Prime Minister to India, the President said that India values its growing cooperation with Australia, adding that bilateral relations between India and Australia have become multi-faceted and grown considerably in the last few years. The Prime Minister is Australia’s Education Minister, and Vice Chancellors from Australia’s highest ranked universities, the Group of Eight. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that education is high on the agenda of this important bilateral visit.
Over the next five years, India has an ambitious goal to educate a cohort of people which is 16 times the size of Australia's entire population. Both countries see enormous potential for Australian universities and its training sector in helping India upskill 400 million people.
Already Australia is the second most popular destination for Indian students, behind the United States, with more than 60,000 studying down under in 2016.
The Indian government has predicted to meet its goal by 2022, it will need an extra four million university graduates every year.
One of the significant challenges that India faces is in higher education. Within the next three years, India will have the largest tertiary age population in the world and would have outpaced China.
While India has one of the largest numbers of higher education institutions in the world, quality issues, such as poor infrastructure, archaic pedagogy and lack of quality faculty have adversely impacted learning outcomes and employability.
The Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education in India was only 23.6% in 2014-15, in comparison to countries like Australia which stood at 86.6%. The government is targeting raising this to 30% by 2020. Should this happen, university spots for an additional 14 million students would need to be found and would consequently require the establishment of 800 new universities and 40,000 new colleges over the next three years! Quality would, most certainly, suffer as businessmen, inexperienced in the education field, scramble to benefit from the demand-supply mismatch and establish substandard institutions.
Education exchange is about more than Australia taking on Indian students. The world growth is driven by technology, science, and innovation, collaboration is the key to success.
Australia helping India's big education dream.
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