A Harvard and Yale in India? HRD Ministry relooks proposal to allow foreign institutes to enter India

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Ten years after a bill to the effect was turned down, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is trying to revive proposals allowing the entry of foreign educational institutes into India.

The Foreign Educational (Regulations of Entry and Operations) Bill, 2010 had proposed to allow international institutes to set-up campuses in India, but it could not be passed as lack of consensus on the process of granting approvals led to the bill being sent to the cold storage.

Sources told Moneycontrol that MHRD will discuss this matter with the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), and with representatives of some of the global institutes in the next few days to get views of the stakeholders on this matter.

“We want to finalise this process before general elections, so that there is clarity before the start of the academic session,” said an official.

The idea to allow foreign institutes into India stemmed when a few Europe-based business schools expressed interest to set-up a campus here. It was decided that these educational institutes would be allowed to set standalone campuses in India and offer degree programmes.

But a lack of consensus stymied passage of the bill.

Having an international institute set-up a campus in India would mean that the cost of higher education would not only be cheaper, but access to the institutes would be easier. Visiting the institute and examining the facilities offered will be viable if it is based in India.

The government, on one hand, wants students to get access to the best educational facilities in the country, while on the other wants to ensure that students do not end up with dubious credentials.

“The idea is to get an assurance that the degrees will be compatible with the current education system in India. Also, students do not face any difficulty pursuing research or jobs after their education because of the fact that the institute is an Indian arm of the global one,” added another official.

Earlier, about 30 foreign institutes that had firmed up plans to enter the country had to change their focus to other markets. Even after extensive discussions with the then Human Resource Ministry, they had to drop their plans.
The government’s aim was to also encourage students to stay back for employment in India, thereby preventing a brain drain.