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“Education key area” on FTA talks with Canada, UK: Union Minister Piyush Goyal

India will negotiate trade agreements with major first world countries to include education in the key pacts that might have significant implications for Indian students. According to Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, India is attempting to incorporate education as a significant field of cooperation in the Free Trade Agreements (FTA) that the country is negotiating with its trade partners.

India is negotiating trade agreements with the United Kingdom, Australia, UAE, Canada, and others. “We are trying to include education as a key sector of cooperation and incorporate tie-ups among universities keeping National Education Policy (NEP) as the basis and aiming to reduce fees in the FTA and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) talks being negotiated with many countries such as the UK, Australia, or Canada,” Goyal said in a webinar on “Sabka Prayas: Collective Partnership” on October 8.

A free trade agreement will either eliminate or drastically reduce custom charges on the maximum number of items traded between two or more trading partners. It will also soften regulations in order to boost service commerce. Not only this may result in lower travel costs, but it could also result in lower fees and living conditions for students who travel internationally – and vice versa.

According to Piyush Goyal, the tie-ups are formed among overseas universities using NEP as a foundation and with the goal of lowering fees. During trade talks with other countries, the minister stated that the government is also working to improve the quality of higher education by envisaging tie-ups with international colleges.

“The New Education Policy (NEP) being executed across the country will now place priority on skill development,” Goyal said. “Dual degree programs, collaborations with international universities, student exchange programs, and the encouragement of Liberal Arts in addition to Academics are all part of the plan,” he further added.

In this process, the Indian government will be able to reach out to the most marginalized parts of society through the ‘Sabka Prayas – Collective Partnership’. Goyal went on to say that the government is now collaborating with overseas colleges to improve higher education quality. According to the statement of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, “the country’s New Education Policy (NEP) will prioritize skill development and partnership with overseas universities and colleges”.

The new modifications are meant to improve the system and increase the number of international students. Many scholarships are available to encourage international students to study in Indian top universities and colleges. This benefits not only the international community but also India’s relationship with the rest of the world.

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