Education cooperation with Europe is of interest to Australia due to Europe’s strong tradition of research and development, existing academic linkages between Australia and Europe, opportunities for study in Europe as well as extensive cultural and people-to-people linkages. Europe is also a major source of international students. Australia hosts over 40 000 students annually from Europe..
Australia through DIISRTE has an active relationship in education with the European Union (EU). DIISRTE and the European Commission fund activities that seek to increase student and academic mobility and share best practice on policy issues of interest to both parties.
Since 2003 Australia and the EU have funded seven rounds of joint cooperation student mobility projects. A project is of three years duration and funds a consortium comprising 3–4 EU and 3–4 Australian universities to undertake structured exchange of students and academics for a semester in a joint subject area. Vocational education and training institutions are also eligible to apply. Through increased mobility and exchange the projects seek to develop innovative curriculum and credit transfer arrangements.
Since 2009 Australia and the EU have undertaken three policy dialogues on topics of joint interest in education and training. Policy dialogues allow policy makers and practitioners from the EU and Australia to share views and best practice.
Australia’s education cooperation activities are included in the European Union-Australia Partnership Framework. This document, launched in 2008 and updated annually, records activities which contribute to the development of the joint partnership.
In October 2009 Universities Australia, the French Vice-Chancellors’ Committee and French Engineering Schools Directors’ Committee signed a renewed Agreement of Mutual Recognition of Qualifications. DEEWR participated in the preparation of this agreement.
A Joint Declaration between Australia and the European Commission was signed in 2007 to reinforce co-operation in the fields of education and training.
Australia and the EU participate in annual policy dialogues. These dialogues in education and training seek to exchange best practice on policy areas of interest to both sides. Dialogues also produce joint follow-up actions. Australia and the EU have undertaken four policy dialogues: higher education reform (2009), qualifications frameworks (2010), early childhood education and childcare (2011) and international education (2012).