NDA urged to let in foreign varsities

NDA urged to let in foreign varsities

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Indian industry has suggested that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government should bring consensus on United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government-era proposal to allow foreign universities open their campuses under a legal framework in India, saying it could be a “game changer”.

When the erstwhile government announced the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill in 2010, it generated “tremendous excitement”, especially among foreign institutions that have been keen to establish their “physical presence” in the country.

If passed, the legislation would have allowed access to quality higher education at affordable costs and transformed the “entire landscape” of higher education system in the country, according to a report on the annual status of higher education in the country, prepared by Deloitte in partnership with the CII.

Intended to regulate the entry and operations of foreign education providers, this bill was expected to make a significant impact on the higher education landscape of the country.

“It was also anticipated that foreign institutions would introduce best practices for teaching, curriculum, research and others to improve the current state of education,” it said.

With none of the Indian higher education institutions figuring in the Top 200 list, academicians were hoping that this move could prove to be a game changer, it said.

“With education experts voicing their opinion both in favour of and against allowing foreign universities campuses in India, this may be the opportune time for the government to consider bringing in a consensus on this subject,” it recommended.

The report also suggested the government to bring changes in its education policy to attract foreign investors, saying, although 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment is permitted in education sector through automatic route, the “regulatory challenges” continue to limit flow of foreign investment in the sector.

“Contradictions within the regulatory framework along with inherent ‘not-for-profit’ structure have been the key limiting factors hampering the attractiveness among foreign investors,” it said.

The CII suggested that the government clear its stand on the entry of foreign universities and roll out an “unambiguous comprehensive policy” for it.

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