It was a night to remember at the MCG. No, not a day-night cricket contest, but an A.I.I oration delivered by an Indian politician whose job it is to educate 500 million people under the age of 25.
Vocational Education and Training (VET) featured strongly in Human Resources Development Minister M.M. Pallam Raju’s speech, delivered before an audience packed with senior government officials and academics including former Australian Foreign Minister and Chancellor of the Australian National University, Gareth Evans.
Also distributed hot-off-the-press to guests was the A.I.I’s ground-breaking new study of how Australian VET providers can deliver skills training in India.
But before getting down to business, Dr Raju, accompanied by India’s High Commissioner to Australia, Mr Biren Nanda, and A.I.I Director Amitabh Mattoo, was escorted onto the hallowed pitch of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Alas, there was no bat or ball to be found, but many photos were taken!
Dr Raju’s visit to Australia provided opportunities for him to engage with State and Federal government representatives keen to build stronger people-to-people, education and trade ties.
India's HRD minister Dr Pallam Raju (far left) at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with A.I.I Director Amitabh Mattoo (2nd from left) and India's High Commissioner to Australia, Biren Nanda (2nd from right).
In Melbourne, he met the Victorian State Government minister for Business and Innovation, Ms Louise Asher, and attended a roundtable organised by the Asia Education Foundation. In Sydney he attended a meeting of the Australia India Education Council. He also visited higher education and skills training institutions.
The Australia India Institute Oration at the MCG dining room followed news that the A.I.I will run an innovative exchange program in which university Vice-Chancellors from Australia and India will visit each other’s institutions and ‘shadow’ their counterparts as a way of understanding the differing challenges facing their education sectors.
Dr Raju told attendees at the dinner that joint research and student exchanges were among the options being looked at for expanding education ties.
Earlier he told an interviewer from Australia Network TV that having thousands of young Indians studying abroad was not symptomatic of a “brain drain”. Instead, he said, such students would bring back knowledge to India.
Reporting on Mr Raju’s visit, India’s Economic Times newspaper quoted him saying, “There is a lot we can do with Australian side in terms of education because skilling is one area where we want to make a huge transformation.”
Read the A.I.I’s report on Australia and India’s skills training needs here.