Chairing the second edition of the SAARC Education Ministers' meet here, she underlined the importance accorded to education in all SAARC Summits and stressed on harmonisation of academic standards and establishment of linkages between research institutions and think-tanks in the region.
"Education and cultural diplomacy is the only way forward to strengthen relationship between the SAARC countries. We should, therefore, like to have focussed university to university linkages between our countries for mutual capacity building in education, research technology and innovation," Irani said.
She said, "As we have various common challenges of development, our researchers need to work collectively to evolve technology to address these challenges and I would urge for enhanced linkages of our researchers."
She also emphasised on "instutionalisation of students, academics, teachers and youth exchange programmes for long- term sustainable people-to-people linkages".
Use of information and communication technology as a supporting medium for learning should be taken up by all SAARC nations in a mision mode, she said, citing the 'Massive Open Online Course' initiated by her Ministry to provide learners an opportunity to upgrade their knowledge at an affordable price.