A draft rule on “Setting up and Operating of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions (FHEIs) in India” was recently published by the University Grants Commission (UGC). These colleges will receive special exemption regarding regulation, administration, and content standards on par with other independent institutions of India under a statutory structure that facilitates such entrance.
Permission would initially be given for ten years, with extension pending fulfillment of necessary requirements. The freedom to design their own academic programs and admissions procedures would be granted to the international institutions.
According to the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, “selected universities, for example, those from among the top 100 universities in the world, will be given with support to function in India.
What purpose does this action serve?
Benefits to India include: Reducing the Outflow of Indian Money and Brain Drain: • Many Indian students choose to pursue degrees from other countries, which results in an Outflow of Indian Money. According to a recent study by a reputable consulting company, spending by Indian students abroad is expected to increase from the present annual USD28 billion to USD80 billion annually by 2024.
The number of Indian students choosing to pursue higher education abroad increased from 4.4 lakh in 2016 to 7.7 lakh in 2019, and is projected to increase even more to approximately 18 lakh by 2024, leading to an increase in the cost of higher education abroad.
Discussion of the Gross Enrollment Ratio
• The opening of international universities in India may boost enrollment rates by giving students more choices for higher education and perhaps luring more people to seek degrees.
• India has one of the biggest higher education institutions in the world, but its Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education is only 27.1%, which is among the lowest in the world.
Cultural Exchange: The presence of international colleges in India can promote cross-cultural dialogue and mutual respect.
India can improve its position as a world leader in study and education by hosting international universities.
Brand building: It can also raise the country’s brand worth, giving it the chance to demonstrate the world what it is capable of and what it excels at.
Benefits for Foreign Universities: A significant portion of India’s young populace, which is expanding quickly, is anxious to seek higher education.
India is a desirable location for international universities seeking to set up research centers or other activities because it has a large pool of highly educated and skilled employees.
India’s economy is expanding quickly, which gives international universities a chance to build a presence there.
What difficulties will there be in establishing foreign universities in India?
Quality of Education: The viability and future chances of Indian students may suffer if FHEIs’ educational standards are lower than those of Indian schools.
costs: Students from lower-income households may find higher education less accessible as a result of FHEIs’ frequently much higher costs than those of Indian schools.
Lack of Oversight: India’s FHEI regulations may not be sufficiently enforced, which could result in instances where students are exploited or denied redress in the event of issues.
Indian culture and ideals could be lost as a result of the influx of foreign schools and students, and there might not be enough integration between Indian and foreign students.
National Security Concerns:
The foreign institutions may be used for
espionage and other illegal activities.
Not Enough Resources:
Truly reputed higher educational institutions
operate on a not-for-profit basis and have no
materialistic motives to go offshore.
A few countries that have such
offshore campuses had to hard-sell
the institutions the idea by leasing
land at almost no cost, bearing the bulk
of infrastructure cost and promising
them the academic, administrative and
financial autonomy that they enjoy in
their home country.
India could hardly afford any such rewards.
Academic, administrative, and budgetary autonomy for foreign institutions is promised in the draft notice, but it is revoked by the requirement that they adhere to all rules and regulations set forth from time to time by the UGC and the Indian government.
The provision that the foreign higher education
institutions must not do anything “contrary to
the sovereignty and integrity of India, the
security of the State, friendly relations with
foreign States, public order, decency or
morality” might deter the best universities that
most value their academic autonomy.
What should the next step be?
Creating Transparent and plain Regulations: For the foundation, administration, and approval of international colleges in India, the government should create transparent and plain rules. This can assist to guarantee that these institutions run in accordance with Indian laws and rules.
Promoting Collaboration and Partnerships: The government could urge foreign colleges to cooperate and associate with established Indian institutions rather than permitting them to set up independent sites in India. This might lessen competition and guarantee that Indian institutions and students receive the six advantages of international colleges.
India’s colleges need to be reformed, and this will require a variety of actions from the government, including raising higher education financing, enhancing educational standards, and encouraging new ideas and research.
Establishing Education Excellence Zones (EEZs) and international universities is a possible next move.
As a consequence, India’s knowledge-based industries would cluster, and FHEIs could be welcomed into these EEZs for genuine inter-university rivalry and excellence.