New Delhi: Even as the Indian government prepares to allow entry of foreign education providers in the higher education sector, about 50 foreign universities, including US-based Duke University, have evinced interest in setting up campuses in India.
The interested universities, mostly from the US, the UK and Australia, have approached the ministry of human resource development, which oversees education, over the last three months, a senior official said requesting anonymity.
The Foreign Education Providers Bill, a proposed legislation to allow entry of foreign universities in India, is yet to be approved by Parliament. The proposed Bill has been holding fire after being cleared by the Union Cabinet in February 2007.
To take forward the process of engaging their institutions in education sector in India, a number of foreign dignitaries, including British trade and investment minister Mervyn Davies and Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, have visited India.
Foreign universities are currently not allowed to offer degree courses in India, although the country allows 100% foreign investment in the sector. However, nearly 150 foreign institutes offer courses with Indian varsities under a twinning arrangement—part of the course in India, the remaining abroad—that is allowed by the education department.
Earlier in June this year, a panel set up by the government to draw up a reform road map for the higher education sector earlier this year recommended that only the top 200 foreign universities be allowed to enter the country. The Yash Pal committee’s report, submitted on 24 June, comes as the government prepares to table in Parliament the Foreign Education Providers Bill, which will seek to regulate the entry of foreign education providers into the country.
The report, Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education in India, reviewed by Mint, suggests that only the best foreign universities be allowed to function in the higher education sector to avoid fly-by-night operators. The report also calls for a strict regulatory framework to bring such universities on par with Indian universities.