On January 5, 2023, the University Grants Commission (UGC) released a draft stating that India is officially open to welcoming foreign universities in the country. This will transform India’s approach to higher education and benefit the students incredibly. But it also raises many questions. How will the government safeguard the interest of our country? Why did this draft not get approval in the previous years? Will foreign universities be given complete autonomy? Are these universities willing to hire Indian professors & teachers? And what does the future of India’s higher education look like?
What’s This Noise About Foreign Universities Entering the Indian Market?
According to the UGC report, many “European Countries” are interested in expanding their roots in India. The University of Birmingham released an official response which said, “We are always open to opportunities for partnership working. We would also point Indian students toward the excellent study opportunities available at the University of Birmingham in both UK and Dubai.”
Another college that is King’s College, London has signed MoU with the government of Telangana for collaborative research, staff & student exchange, curriculum development, and upskilling.
These collaborations and the keen interest of foreign universities in Indian institutions is a testimony to the fact that India is an excellent economy to invest in.
What Attracts Foreign Investment in India?
Studies have shown that after the United States, India currently has the second-largest higher education system. Thus, the education sector in our nation has a very high potential for growth. The market for distance education was valued at 39 billion in 2018, and by 2024, it is expected to rise to 360 billion. By the end of 2020, there were more than 988 universities and about 40,000 colleges already established in India.
According to the AISHE stats, the gross enrollment ratio has grown by 0.8%, with a constant increase of 18.2% in female enrollments. This level of growth necessitates significant financial commitment which is not feasible simply through the government. As a result, it encourages and supports investments from the private sector. Furthermore, it promotes foreign direct investment in the sector.
The NEP 2020 Vision
The latest UGC draft is in line with National Education Policy 2020 (NEP). NEP envisioned the internationalisation of higher education and stated its vision that “top universities in the world will be facilitated to operate in India.” It reflects that the government has thoughtfully taken this action to attract foreign investment in the country.
The UGC Draft
The draft was announced by the UGC Chairman, Dr. M Jagadesh Kumar which laid down the following key points:
- The universities that are among the top 500 in QS Ranking in the overall category or subject-wise category are eligible to apply in India
- If the universities do not participate in such rankings then they must be reputable in their country
- The foreign university can decide its fee structure, hiring process, admission process, and the Indian government will not have any say in such matters
- The foreign universities can repatriate to their parent university
- The courses offered by these universities should not be against the interest of India’s interests and beliefs
Have Foreign Universities Received Complete Autonomy?
According to the official draft, the Indian government will not interfere in matters of foreign universities. They have been given the freedom to set their fee structure for both Indian and international students.
They are also not obligated to follow the reservation system that is popular in India otherwise. Additionally, they can also follow their own process for hiring.
Although the draft did mention that they are advised to include scholarships by Foreign Higher Educational Institution (FHEI). Furthermore, the government has said that the fee structure should be “transparent and reasonable.”
How does the Government Safeguard Indian Interests?
The UGC has set the following parameters to safeguard the Indian national interests:
- The UGC can examine the university campuses at any time
- The universities have to abide by India’s anti-ragging and other criminal law policies
- The UGC can suspend or withdraw the university’s approval if its actions are against the policies of India
- The foreign universities have to submit an audit and annual report stating that their working is in line with Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999
How is It Beneficial?
“Presence of Foreign Higher Education Institutions here will enable Indian students obtain foreign qualifications at affordable cost, and make India an attractive study destination.”M Jagadesh Kumar, UGC Chairperson
Although it is too early to say anything but majorly the benefits that can be seen of foreign university entering higher education sector in India are:
- Foreign students will invest in the courses. Thus, it will directly contribute the country’s GDP
- In order to compete with these universities, IITs, IIMs, private universities will also make necessary changes in their curriculum, opportunities and other procedures
- It is easier for Indian students to study in their dream universities yet stay in the country
- It will also reduce visa and other immigration issues
This is broadly what the new UGC policy looks like and in the coming future we will unfold more information. Till then visit our page for more updates.