NITI Aayog favours erstwhile UPA’s proposal allowing foreign universities campuses in India
New Delhi: The NITI Aayog has favoured erstwhile UPA government’s proposal of inviting foreign universities to set up campuses in India. The move was opposed by the ruling BJP government when it was in the Opposition.
In a report submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and HRD Ministry, according to a report in Indian Express, the Aayog has said that ‘permitting foreign universities will help meet higher education demand and increase competition’.
It may be recalled that faced with political opposition in enacting the law, the HRD Ministry under UPA-II had in September 2013 decided to take the executive order route exploring ways of permitting top 400 foreign institutions to set up campuses in India. The regulations, however, were never issued with the government's legislative department failing to notify them.
The Aayog has also suggested three routes to allow entry of foreign universities. They are:
a) A new law to regulate the operation of such universities in the country
b) An amendment to the UGC Act of 1956 and deemed university regulations to let them in as deemed universities
c) Facilitating their entry by tweaking UGC and AICTE regulations on twinning arrangements between Indian and foreign institutions to permit joint ventures
“India stands to gain from setting up of foreign universities in terms of availability of resources both human and financial, state-of-the-art teaching methodology, research and innovation. Capital expenditure in the cost of setting up an institution is high and land and buildings are also a major issue. Entry of foreign universities and leveraging FDI will offset some of these costs,” the Indian Express quoted the NITI Aayog report.
Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked NITI Aayog to study all reports regarding means of permitting foreign universities in the country. He had also met senior bureaucrats in June 2015 to discuss the feasibility of encouraging top foreign universities to open its campuses in India.
The issue is likely to find a place during the discussion of the new education policy that will be revealed later this year. For the first time in 3 decades, India is going to have a new education policy, which the government says is a major collaborative effort.