Australia-India higher education ties strengthen fivefold since 2007: report

The report highlights key areas of collaboration, such as academic exchange, research, and student mobility, with a future outlook emphasizing interdisciplinary research and cultural exchange.

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The report titled “Mapping Higher Education Engagement between Australia and India: A Compendium,” authored by Hiya Harinandini and Haripriya Rangan from the Australia India Institute, provides a comprehensive overview of the educational engagement between Australia and India.

It serves as a guide for stakeholders in the higher education sectors of both Australia and India. The data includes analyses of engagement survey data, university, government, and research intelligence websites, and interviews. It also covers formalized partnerships between Australian and Indian higher education institutions, encompassing academic mobility, joint degree programs, and research collaboration.

Key Findings

1. Growth in Partnerships: There has been a significant increase in partnerships between Australian universities and Indian higher education institutions (HEI). The study found that the 38 Australian universities already had over 400 collaborations with Indian universities, mainly in the areas of academics and research. These collaborations have expanded dramatically, multiplying fivefold between 2007 and 2021.

Image Source: Australia India Institute

2. Nature of Engagement: The major engagement areas include academic and research collaboration, student mobility, and staff exchange.

3. Leading Australian Universities: Deakin University and Western Sydney University have the most partnerships in India.

4. Regional Distribution: Southern and Northern India’s regional cities host a greater quantity of institutions tied to Australian universities. The Delhi National Capital Region, along with nearby cities in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, accounts for a substantial share of these partnerships. In the west, Mumbai and Pune are the main areas of partnership concentration. In contrast, the Southern region features a more dispersed array of higher education institution partners, while Eastern India sees relatively fewer such collaborations. 

5. Indian HEI Partners: The collective partnerships of universities belonging to the Australian Technology Network and Innovative Research Universities account for 63.6 percent of the total collaborations. This is contrasted by the Group of Eight universities, constituting 21.8 percent of the partnerships. It’s important to note that these figures may not fully represent the Go8’s involvement, as partnerships involving the University of New South Wales with Indian higher education institutions are not included in the Universities Australia dataset.

Image Source: Australia India Institute

6. Research and Academic Collaboration: Australian academics and researchers actively engage in Indian government schemes, resulting in numerous collaborative publications and projects.

Image Source: Australia India Institute

Future Outlook

  • Maximizing Opportunities: The report suggests leveraging compatible regulatory environments and pro-engagement policies to expand higher education partnerships.
  • Promoting Interdisciplinary Research: It advocates for expanding collaboration beyond STEM disciplines.
  • Cultural Exchange: Emphasizes the importance of promoting Indian literacy in Australia and vice versa to foster a deeper understanding.

Challenges and Opportunities

The report highlights the evolving nature of partnerships, including digital and blended learning initiatives, and the need to adapt to policy changes and market demands. It provides a detailed analysis of the growth, nature, and future directions of higher education engagement between Australia and India, emphasizing the importance of continued collaboration for mutual benefits in education and research.

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