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Dec 11, 2015 at 12:00am ET By Elizabeth Koprowski

Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (aka BRICS) are five of the world's strongest emerging economies and for the past five years, they have been working together to create mutually-beneficial opportunities. Last month in Russia, the BRICS countries revealed plans to create an education cooperative that will help these countries move forward in both academic and economic pursuits. The agreement will serve as the basis for a network of education organizations and institutions from the participating nations.

The agreement, which was signed into action by officials from all five BRICS countries, is the result of meetings in Brazil and Moscow earlier this year. In the coming years, member-states will work together to establish the means and infrastructure for researcher collaboration, joint publications, shared and transferable credentials and training, and student mobility. According to Blade Nzimande, the South African Minister for Higher Education and Training, his country has already identified twelve universities as potential candidates for cooperative programs.

While many of the initiatives proposed by the agreement are aimed at post-secondary level cooperation, the plans also include strategies for collaborative technical and vocational education and training (TVET), as well as discussions surrounding mutually-applicable educational policies. The BRICS countries recognize that their large and fast-growing economies will require highly-educated and qualified workers in both academic and technical fields, and that by working together they can help to supply the demands of their economies.

Elizabeth Koprowski is an American writer and travel historian. She has worked in the higher education system with international students both in Europe and in the USA.

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