Cross-border Collaborations: A benchmark event by FICCI & Study Queensland (Australia) to highlight the essence of partnering for success


9 world-class institutions from Queensland and 17 top Indian universities participated in the event to build strong cross-border partnerships.

India, 9th March, 2022: India and Australia are going through exciting times with a possibility of a Free Trade Agreement between two countries in the next few months. Education being one of the key sectors, governments on both sides have recently announced many education and funding-related initiatives to support internationalization between the two countries. Against this backdrop, FICCI, and Queensland government (Australia) realize the importance of meaningful collaborations between Indian and Queensland institutions.

Facilitating these partnerships, Study Queensland – the specialist international education and training unit of Trade and Investment Queensland jointly with FICCI organized India-Queensland Education Partnership Event 2022 (IQEPE) today.

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Elaborating the purpose behind such an initiative, Mr. Abhinav Bhatia, Senior Trade & Investment Commissioner – South Asia, Trade & Investment Queensland said, Education is a key priority sector for both India and Queensland, Australia. The governments on both sides are committed and supportive of the internationalization of education. With students looking for holistic and global exposure, meaningful cross-border collaborations are no longer good-to-have but a must-have for educational institutions. Moreover, such partnerships (mutual recognition of qualifications, research in areas like green hydrogen, clinical trials, critical minerals, and student exchanges) will further deepen the already strong relationship between the two regions.

FICCI’s higher education committee is the voice of Indian education industry focusing on key policy reforms, knowledge sharing and promoting transnational academic collaboration and other forms of exchanges.

At the event, a panel discussion focusing on the topic ‘Cross-border Collaborations: Partnering for Success’ was addressed by key dignitaries. The session was moderated and led by Mr. Abhinav BhatiaSenior Trade & Investment Commissioner – South Asia, Trade & Investment Queensland. The panelists – Prof. Sarah Todd, Vice President (Global), Griffith University, Prof. Ren Yi, Pro-Vice Chancellor (International), University of Southern Queensland, Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar, Pro-Chancellor, Symbiosis International University and Prof. N. V. Varghese, Vice Chancellor, National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration; vouched for the urging need of such collaborations during the discussion.

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Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar, Chair FICCI Higher Education committee & Pro-Chancellor, Symbiosis International University shared her vision on this collaboration between FICCI and Queensland Government “Internationalization is beyond student mobility and the pandemic has brought in new facets of internationalisation. There is a desire from institutions from both India and Australia to collaborate and create a win-win situation. There has to be a symbiotic relationship between partnering institutions and with FICCI being the facilitating platform, institutions from Queensland and India can come and offer diverse opportunities as NEP also endorses international collaborations, joint degrees, joint research etc.  Partnerships between Queensland and Indian universities will not only promote joint research, but also provide rich Indian industry experience to the foreign students from Australia.”

Reinforcing the potential for increased collaboration between Queensland and Indian universities, Griffith University’s Vice President (Global), Professor. Sarah Todd noted the emphasis the National Research Foundation has placed on the importance of higher education institutions, the need for research with societal impact and the role that Indian diaspora plays in developing research partnerships. “Collaborative research activities can range from co-authored research publications at the individual level, through to arrangements for joint PhD supervision and working together to access research grant funding at the national and international level. While many research collaborations are driven from the bottom up, based on personal connections and networks, there is also a need for institutions to look strategically at their partnerships and determine how they can better leverage those connections and diaspora to deepen and broaden relationships between Queensland and Indian universities. While there is a lot of activity already underway, there is significant potential for increased collaboration in a range of discipline areas, for mutual benefit.”

Online Education Magazine in India, EasyShiksha Magazine
Online Education Magazine in India, EasyShiksha Magazine

Addressing the audience on mutual recognition qualification and the credit system, Prof. N. V. Varghese rightly mentioned, “Students often confuse credit transfer with mutual recognition and partnerships between institutions can overcome the same. This is important because credit transfer is a flexible pathway to higher learning which is supported by the Academic Bank of Credit introduced by UGC, National Higher Education Qualification Framework and Mutual Recognition of degrees. I second that internationalization is not equal to student mobility and this higher education framework supported by NEP will facilitate and enrich the higher education as well as the partnerships.”

Emphasizing on the need of India-Queensland partnerships via education and research, Prof. Ren Yi said, “Even though the scale of population and number of higher education institutions in India and Australia hugely differ, Australia is an honest partner to India and will deliver quality projects through collaboration that would have actual impact on the ground. To perform better research, it is important to study the subject in a joint format at an international level. University of Southern Queensland have already partnered on areas of common interest with India, such as space related research programs with ISRO, agriculture engineering and climate change with Agricultural Research Institutes in India, and aviation management programs with IndiGo airlines, etc.  for better industrial experience. We are also excited about India’s NEP for joint collaborations for internships that can level up the internationalization of education.”

With the growing demand for international education, 9 world-class institutions of Queensland and 17 top Indian universities participated at the event for strong cross-border partnerships. Indian institutes like IIT- Roorkee,  IIT-ISM Dhanbad, BITS Pilani, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Symbiosis International University, Vellore Institute of Technology, SRM Institute of Science & Technology, Sathyabhama Institute of Science & Technology The University of Petroleum & Energy studies, Pearl Academy,  etc., took the opportunity to discuss potential partnerships with several top-ranked institutions of Queensland like The University of Queensland, Griffith University, James Cook University, Bond University, University of Southern Queensland, University of the Sunshine Coast,  Torrens UniversityAustralian Catholic University and The Outsource Institute and   discussed areas of mutual interest to strengthen the education ecosystem between the two regions. 

While summing up the discussion, Mr. Bhatia added, “Given that the National Education Policy 2020 emphasizes internationalization and global standards in education, Indian Universities have a massive appetite for cross-border collaborations. Institutions of Queensland have decades of experience in managing such partnerships in many parts of the world, and we can bring such models and good practices to India. Also, there is a need to look at newer online models to make quality education more accessible, inclusive and more impactful in domains that can make a difference.”

About Study Queensland: Study Queensland is the specialist international education and training unit of Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ) – the Queensland Government’s dedicated global business agency that helps Queensland exporters take their products to world markets and promoting Queensland as the perfect place for investment. It partners with the industry and the Government to enhance IET through advocacy, connectivity, knowledge sharing and a commitment to strengthening Queensland’s talent ecosystem. The 15 TIQ offices create a strong global education network and provide on-the-ground support to education and training institutions interested in accessing new opportunities and growing their overseas business development activities and for those looking for opportunities in Queensland.

About FICCI Higher Education: Established in 1927, FICCI is the largest and oldest apex business organisation in India. Its history is closely interwoven with India’s struggle for independence, its industrialization, and its emergence as one of the most rapidly growing global economies.

A non-government, not-for-profit organisation, FICCI is the voice of India’s business and industry. From influencing policy to encouraging debate, engaging with policy makers and civil society, FICCI articulates the views and concerns of industry. It serves its members from the Indian private and public corporate sectors and multinational companies, drawing its strength from diverse regional chambers of commerce and industry across states, reaching out to over 2,50,000 companies.

FICCI has been playing a proactive role in the Education sector since past two decades and has been advocating policy reforms in education sector, carrying out research, surveys/ studies, promoting sustainable industry—academia linkages, knowledge sharing and promoting collaborative ventures in academic exchanges. FICCI’s Higher Education Committee has a strong representation from the Industry, Academia, thought leaders, and Think Tanks and has proactively been complementing Government’s growth agenda for the sector.

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