Changing landscape of higher education

The proposal to allow leading foreign universities to set up their campuses in India is a welcome development that has the potential to transform the country’s higher education landscape. According to the draft regulations released by the UGC, foreign universities can set up their campuses in India, decide their admission process, and fee structure, and will also be able to repatriate funds to their parent campuses. This is a radical policy departure for a country that has been unable to shake off its colonial character, designed to churn out clerks and stifle innovative thinking, and has, for decades, allowed structural flaws to continue to impair the growth needed to achieve real transformation. The latest draft guidelines are part of the New Education Policy whose idea dates back to the 1990s. Political posturing had delayed the much-needed reforms. The last attempt was by UPA-II in 2010 in the form of the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill had failed to pass muster in Parliament and lapsed in 2014 because the BJP, which was then in the opposition, had opposed it along with the Left and Samajwadi Party. Now in power, the saffron party has realized the importance of restructuring the higher education sector.

Given the inadequate opportunities and poor quality of higher education at home, a large number of Indian students go abroad every year in search of greener pastures. Over the last two decades, overseas branch campuses have mushroomed across the globe. The decision of UGC to allow leading foreign universities to open campuses in India will also improve the condition of Indian universities. The increase in competition will improve the standard of education.