The dream of a foreign education could be realized closer home in a few years’ time. According to a news report, the government has introduced a provision in the Higher Education Commission of India Bill to allow the operation of foreign universities in India. The bill aims to set up a single higher education regulator that will replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). It has a clause stating that the new Higher Education Commission can permit “highly-reputed foreign universities" to set up campuses in India.

The lure of an educational degree from abroad has always been strong. Many Indian students, especially after graduating or working for a few years, start eyeing foreign shores. And they should. With fast-changing industry demands, people need to update their skills to global standards. A foreign education, however, is frightfully expensive. An undergrad student shells out over $70,000 a year to attend an Ivy League university in the US. If educational costs are high overseas, at some part of it is on account of high living costs abroad. The same education imparted in India could be done a lot cheaper.

Also, if premium foreign varsities enter the Indian education market, it’s quite likely that competition with domestic ones will drive up overall standards. It’s possible that fees will also rise sharply, but that just means a robust system for student scholarships and loans would need to emerge. The government’s broad aim is to earn more foreign exchange, by attracting foreign students, and make “Educated in India" a tag worn with pride. A little bit of Ivy would help.

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