Foreign univs to have campuses in India


That day doesn't appear to be very far when renowned foreign universities can set up their campuses in India, offering students higher education at their doorsteps.


The University Grants Commission's draft norms for establishment and operation of foreign universities in India have already been hailed by students.


They believe that it will improve the quality of education and research and give aspirants exposure to world-class learning without having to travel abroad.


But, academics and industry experts differ on the draft norms for establishment and operation of foreign universities in the country.


Some say such varsities will not be able to address the unique problems of the Indian education sector.


The final norms will be notified by the end of this month after considering feedback from all stakeholders on the draft regulations for 'Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India'.


According to the draft norms, foreign universities will be able to set up their campuses in India for the first time. These varsities can also decide on the admission process, fee structure and repatriate its funds back home.


Studying abroad is expensive, especially in countries like the UK and the US. Because of the high costs involved, a lot of students who have the potential but don't have the means to afford the higher education, are not able to go to the universities of their choice.


If foreign universities set up their campuses in India, this cost would be reduced significantly and Indian students will be able to benefit from the world-class expertise of these varsities.


A few students have, however, raised questions over the move, saying the government should instead focus on improving the standard of education and infrastructure in Indian universities so that they are able to compete with universities at a global level.


Noting that foreign universities with campuses in the country can only offer full-time programmes in offline mode and not online or distance learning, UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar said the foreign universities and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) will need a nod from the UGC to set up their campuses in India.


The initial approval will be for 10 years and will be renewed in the ninth year subject to the meeting of certain conditions, he said, clarifying that these institutions shall not offer any such study programme which jeopardises the national interest of India or the standards of higher education.


The UGC Chairman said several countries in Europe have expressed interest in setting up their campuses in India. Surprisingly, the UGC was finalising the norms at a time when it was supposed to be dismantled under the National Education Policy - 2020.


The draft regulations published by the UGC are quite clear and flexible. They are in a way in line with the regulations that were introduced recently. Previous attempts through complex legislation didn't work and a regulatory approach appears far more feasible.


There will be two categories of foreign institutions eligible to apply for setting up their campuses in India -- the universities that have secured a position within the top 500 of overall or subject-wise global ranking or a reputed institution in its home jurisdiction.


The foreign institution shall have the autonomy to recruit faculty and staff from India and abroad as per its recruitment norms.


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