Albanese announces a new partnership with Indian universities

The Maitri Programme is a bilateral agreement to ensure degrees from each country will be recognised in the other.

Anthony Albanese has announced a new initiative to boost Indian-Australian relations in the tertiary education sector. The Maitri Programme will see scholarships offered to Indian students and a bilateral agreement to see that university degrees from each country will be recognised in the other.

On his first visit to the country during his prime ministership, and Australia’s first prime ministerial visit to India in seven years, Albanese acknowledged the large diaspora population in Australia. He said, “this new mechanism means that if you’re an Indian student who’s studying – or about to study – in Australia, your hard-earned degree will be recognised when you return home.”

The programme also includes the Maitri scholarship, allowing Indian students to study in Australia for up to four years.

Additionally, several Australian universities are expanding their campuses internationally into India. The University of Melbourne is embarking on blended degrees with Indian counterparts. Deakin University is opening a university campus in Gujarat to teach cybersecurity and business analytics, and the University of Wollongong is looking to open a campus in the same region.

There are currently 130,000 Indian students studying in Australia, according to Universities Australia, more than before the pandemic. 1.6 million Indian students have gained qualifications from Australian universities since 2005.

The programme is part of a wide range of actions taken by the Australian government to bolster its relationship with India. As Australia seeks to increase exportation of fossil fuels and lithium to India, it is also seeking to increase exports in the form of tertiary education – a $40 billion component of the Australian economy.

“It paves the way for commercial opportunities for Australian education providers to offer innovative and more accessible education to Indian students,” Albanese said at the press conference.

“India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and a very important strategic partner,” Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said.