Germany and India have agreed a migration and mobility partnership which the respective government hope will enable the “mutual mobility” of students, professionals and researchers between the two countries.
The migration and mobility partnership is a “success” of talks in Berlin on top of agreements that cover sustainable development and climate protection, German chancellor Olaf Scholz said.
“We can use the great potential of migration and skilled workers to our mutual advantage. It is the first agreement of this kind for our country,” he said.
“I am confident that the Comprehensive Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and Germany will facilitate movement between the two countries,” prime minister Narendra Modi agreed, adding that recent free trade agreements with UAE and Australia were signed “in a very short time”.
“The agreement between India and Germany will facilitate movement between the two countries”
The sixth intergovernmental consultations between India and Germany gives a new direction to the Indo-German partnership, Modi added.
“The partnership between our countries at all levels has resulted in cooperation taking a new direction, including in the area of energy and environmental protection. I am confident that the decisions made today will have a positive impact on our region and the world at large,” he noted.
The exchange of professionals from India have been a benefit for many countries, Modi continued.
“Therefore, a comprehensive partnership on migration and mobility between India and Germany is an important contribution to facilitating mobility and the exchange of people from both countries.”
Both governments reminded of the importance of “active personal exchanges”, especially between students, universities and staff, and agreed to support one another’s higher education internationalisation efforts. They also said they would “interlock” their innovation and research landscapes more closely and “strengthen the dual structures for vocational training”.
They also commended the “extensive” cultural exchange and cooperative education policy between the two countries, pointing to the important roles of the Goethe-Instituts, the Deutschen Akademischen Austauschdienstes (DAAD), the University Grants Commission and the All India Council for Technical Education.
In a statement to The PIE News, head of the DAAD office in India, Katja Lasch, said that the support organisation has a “longstanding cooperation and presence” in India.
Alongside the main office that was founded in 1960, DAAD has smaller offices in Bangalore, Chennai and Pune which are operated under the umbrella of the New Delhi office.
“Every year individual scholarships are awarded as well as cooperation projects that are funded by DAAD,” she stated. “We will continue our operation in India and hope together with our Indian partners, with whom we are running also co-founded programs, we will further develop and strengthen ties.”
Lasch also highlighted that the government consultations give DAAD “a good guideline on how to strengthen and expand the Indo-German cooperation in the field of higher education and research”.
“India has been a reliable and strong partner, this is shown also in its financial engagement. The DAAD is running, with Indian institutions, co-founded programs not just in the field of individual mobility but also for cooperation projects between universities,” she explained.
Along with the scholarships, DAAD’s “diverse” portfolio and activities include fostering the internationalisation of higher education institutions, project funding, alumni relations, and supporting German studies in India.
“As one of the major players we hope to take the cooperation further and use the gaining importance of internationalisation in India as catalyser,” she added.
Under the agreement, India and Germany agreed to pursue further cooperation on education and qualifications, appreciating especially the establishment of digital preparatory courses that Indian students can enrol on to begin their Germany university courses.
Head of Sales Strategy at SRH Higher Education, Akos Kiraly told The PIE that a shortage of skilled workers in Germany is hampering the country’s economic growth.
“German universities have been attracting Indian students for number of years with clear perspective on staying in Germany after graduation. The upcoming migration agreement will additionally support the popularity of German universities among Indian students because the easiest way gain access to the German labour market is still through a solid education preferably from Germany,” he explained.
“We anticipate a further increase for our PG programs in the field of engineering and IT from India”
“We anticipate a further increase for our PG programs in the field of engineering and IT from India as these professions have the highest unfilled positions in the market.”
Speaking at the press conference in Berlin, Scholz noted that the higher education and science sector is a “good indicator of the ever-closer interdependence” between the countries.
“More than 17,000 Indian students take advantage of offers from German universities. You are very welcome in Germany – even after your studies,” he emphasised.
“The Indian government will promote student exchange and allow German students to be admitted to Indian universities through programs such as ‘Study in India’,” the agreement further read.
Both governments also welcomed university-level efforts to explore cooperation between Indian and German universities, for example in the form of joint or dual degrees, it added.
Lasch noted that DAAD will also continue its policy dialogue, and further develop its capacity in the field of internationalisation.
The International Higher Education Dialogue conference in May will bring together Indian, German and French institutions to discuss aspects of internationalisation.
“Furthermore we initiated a bilateral working group on Double Degree programs with the aim to publish a guide for double/joint degree program in the Indo-German context. We see our role here also in policy advice and are working with Indian partner institutions,” she concluded.
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