Proposal to allow foreign varsities being re-examined

The Centre is re-examining a United Progressive Alliance (UPA) era proposal to allow foreign universities open their campuses in India, with an eye on the foreign direct investment (FDI).

The proposal, which was gathering dust at the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, has drawn attention of the government with the Commerce Ministry pushing for it because it sees an opportunity to attract FDI, sources told Deccan Herald.

The HRD Ministry will soon make a presentation before the prime minister, apprising him of the status of foreign institutions operating in India in collaboration with Indian higher educational institutions as well as details of the UPA’s Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill, 2010, which lapsed with the end of 15th Lok Sabha. In education sector, 100 per cent foreign direct investment is allowed under the automatic route.  The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Left parries had opposed the bill.

A parliamentary standing committee, after examining the bill, too had found many loopholes in its provisions, suggesting the erstwhile government to modify the proposed legislation to bring more clarity. The parliamentary panel, though supported the idea of allowing entry of foreign universities in India, had apprehended that shortage of qualified faculties in the country would further aggravate with the entry of foreign educational institutions, recommended for putting in place adequate safeguards against “poaching” of Indian faculties by these institutions.

The panel noted that that there was an urgent need for having a centralized policy and regulatory regime for foreign educational institutions operating in the country but recommended that initial approval should be given only to those foreign education providers which were duly accredited in the home country.

As per a regulation issued by the University Grants Commission, a foreign university can operate in India only under a twinning arrangement with the Indian varsities with approval of the higher education regulator.

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