Australian Education Minister Jason Clare is heading a delegation of higher education leaders on a visit to India to fortify educational bonds between Australia and the country. This highlights Australia’s commitment to strengthening international education ties, particularly with India. Minister Clare’s visit also coincides with Australian Prime Minister Antony Albanese’s efforts to stabilise relations with China, reflecting the nation’s comprehensive diplomatic engagement in the region.
Australian universities’ expansion and partnership
During his visit to India, Minister Clare is set to co-chair the Australia India Education and Skills Council’s (AIESC) annual meeting and visit campuses of Deakin University and University of Wollongong in Gift City, the first two international universities approved to set up a campus in the country.
Deakin University will open applications for students next week and both universities are expected to accept students from mid-2024.
Deakin is already starting applications for student enrolment, and both universities are expected to accept students from November 2024.These developments signify a milestone as the first two international universities to establish campuses in India which solidifies their relationship. “This demonstrates how highly regarded our universities are in India, and the commitment from Australian universities to work with India to implement their National Education Policy,” he said.
Moreover, the trip aims to expand Australian university footprints in India, with Western Sydney University intending to open a campus in Bengaluru in southern India and Deakin University seeking to establish campuses in Indonesia. To add, Minister Clare will also “help launch Western Sydney University’s new Surabaya campus” which is due to open next year in Indonesia. This expansion mirrors the growing collaboration highlighted in the Australia India Institute’s “Mapping Higher Education Engagement Between Australia and India: A Compendium,” emphasising over 400 partnerships and joint programs to enhance student mobility and research cooperation.
Indian students’ enrolment surge
A surge in Indian student enrolment in Australian universities post-pandemic demonstrates the strong desire for international education among Indian students, buoyed by favourable policies and promising post-study prospects.
During the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, there was a fall in the number of students coming to Australia wherein India accounted for 97,000 or 17% of all foreign students in Australia. The Australian government released a new report showing that international students drove a recovery in migration figures in 2022 after the country experienced an outflow of 85,000 migrants due to Covid-19 in 2020-2021.
In recovery from the pandemic, the number of Indian students in Australia has risen to 95,791 in the 2023 January to April compared to the year 2022 which is 75,109. In 2023 of January to May, Australia welcomed 47,759 Indian students. Furthermore, from 1 July 2022 to 31 May 2023, 64,617 student visa applications were submitted by Indian citizens outside of Australia. The Australian Department of Home Affairs website states that 75% of visa applications for higher education are being handled within a 22-day processing period. Indian students represent 17% of all international students in Australia, making them one of the largest groups of foreign students in the country.
As Minister Clare’s delegation engages in discussions with Indian Education Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and key higher education leaders, Australia reaffirms its commitment to fostering continuing partnerships that benefit both nations’ educational and research landscapes. This ongoing collaboration serves as a testament of the growing ties between Australia and India, shaping the future of educational diplomacy.
These collaborations signify more than just diplomatic strides; these are pathways for international students to access enriched educational experiences and diversified learning environments. With strong educational ties between Australia and India, international students stand to benefit from expanded research opportunities and an inclusive education that prioritises their academic journey and career paths.