India bill to allow foreign universities to set up campuses
The government of India has introduced a provision in the Higher Education Commission of India Bill to permit the entry and operation of foreign universities who wish to set up campuses in India.
This move by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government follows the former UPA government’s introduction of a similar plan.
The Bill will set up a single higher education regulator to replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE).
The Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry is learnt to have circulate the draft law for inter-ministerial consultation this week.
Unnamed sources told The Indian Express that the Bill carries a clause stating that the new Higher Education Commission can permit “highly-reputed foreign universities” to set up campuses in India.
This, effectively, reverses the BJP’s earlier stand on the Foreign Education Institutions Bill moved by the UPA-II government.
Initial fears were that foreign universities in India would cause cost of education to rise
One of the main reservations when the UPA government proposed the idea was that foreign universities operating in India would raise the cost of education through high tuition fees and faculty poaching from public universities, thus rendering it out of reach for a large part of the population.
This significantly delayed the publication of any such bill and the permission of foreign universities operating in India.
However, after initial opposition, the HRD Ministry finally came on board and included internationalisation as one of its focus areas in its ambitious five-year plan called ‘Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme’ (EQUIP) released last month.
The five-year vision document proposes that the government revisit the Foreign Education Providers Bill (which was shelved during UPA-II) “with an open mind”.
The draft National Education Policy, released for public feedback in June, also pitches for permitting the world’s top 200 institutions to set up branches in India, with a new law to regulate the latter’s entry and operation.
Pic: Adarsh D B
Hari is the Managing Editor of Global Education Times. Hari has clocked nearly a decade working as a communications professional with a focus on the education sector. He has also had stints in journalism and advertising in a career which has seen him live, study, and work, in three countries.
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