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The new connect

As Australia rebuilds its education bond with India, its focus will be on quality students for high quality education

education Updated: Feb 23, 2011 09:46 IST
HT Horizons Correspondent

The Australian Government organised an education fair in the Capital recently to showcase range of academic programmes, scholarships and career opportunities as part of the ‘Australian Education Excellence Showcase 2011.’ Nearly 25 Australian universities participated in the fair that saw interested students from all quarters -- business management, technology, engineering, science and hospitality.

“The education relationship holds enormous promise and is the connecting thread between our two countries. Australia puts tremendous focus on innovation, research and development and that is reflected in our own benchmarking. At this transition point in our education relationship, we clearly wish to separate our education objectives from labour market and migration objectives. As we rebuild our education relationship with India, our focus will be on high quality students for high quality education. We will also want greater number of students to undertake postgraduate courses,” said Peter Varghese, Australian High Commissioner to India.

“Though vocational education will continue to be an important part of the relationship, the mix will be slightly different. Our aim to provide quality education is only going to grow stronger,” he added.

Commenting on the spate of ‘racially-motivated attacks’ on Indian students in 2009 that had drawn a lot of flak, he said, “We don’t dismiss the fact that the students were not affected by all that had happened, but we are doing every possible thing to assure safety and quality education at the same time. The steps we have taken have had an impact. It is much less of an issue today than it was 12 months ago. We have come up with inter-cultural engagements to make all the international students feel better while they study in Australia,” he added.

Regular surveys with international students have consistently shown a very high level of satisfaction with life in Australia and the quality of education there, he said, adding, “In the recently-conducted International Student Survey in Australia, Indian students turned out to be the most satisfied with our services.”

Over 8,000 students from India enrolled in Australian institutions in 2010.

Culture Card
The Victorian government has launched a cultural card for international students, studying tertiary courses at post-secondary institutions, that enables them to enjoy what is on offer in Victoria through a mix of special offers at sports, arts, and many other events.

The premise is that experiencing and understanding local culture is an important step to succeeding in studies, career and life.

It is an initiative of the Committee for Melbourne and the Victorian Government, supported by participating partners. The actual wallet-card style Culture Card is free for international students.

Geoffrey Conaghan, Victorian government commissioner to India and Sri Lanka, said “The idea is to get them out of campus and mix more broadly with the Australian society, get a broader education experience. The idea is that their experience is enriched and they return to their countries as brand ambassadors.”