What does the bill offer to Indian students?
The bill allows foreign universities and institutes to set up campuses – independently or jointly – in India. It will help that section of the student population, who every year go to foreign universities in search of quality to receive quality education at a lower cost. Also, for students who do not go abroad the bill will offer more choices beyond the already existing state universities deemed to be universities central; universities and private universities. As of now, the presence of foreign education is limited to tie ups and collaborations.
But the foreign universities setting up campuses in India will be offering full fledged foreign degree to students.
What kind of courses will the foreign Institutions offer?
Initially, we are predicting that they will, by and large, offer professional courses, but also expecting them to offer academic qualifications in liberal arts, humanities and so on.
How would you ensure that the academic parameters are on a par with institutes overseas?
There is apprehension that second and third tier institutes existing in the West may swarm India. For that, the bill clearly defines the mechanism, by means of which the application s will be scrutinized and scanned. Either UGC or National Commission on Higher Education and Research (NCHER) – will ensure this. But everything will depend on how we implement this clause to ensure that only quality institutes set up campuses in India. Also, in order to ensure that these institutes are not entirely profit driven a clause in the bill will not allow foreign institutes to repatriate the money that they earn in India.
A foreign education is more than just a degree. It is about the exposure. What are your thoughts vis-à-vis foreign campuses in India?
The concern has been voiced by several educationists. We agree that an education acquired at the Harvard campus in US will not be the same as that of the Harvard campus in India (in case Harvard University decides to set up a campus in India). But the foreign degree will be worth no less.
Besides, it will be competition for Indian universities. We can look back at how public sector banks improved themselves, once India opened the market to foreign banks. Similarly while central and state universities may not be affected, private and deemed to be universities will need to pull up their socks.
If we want India to become a knowledge economy, it is high time we open our gates to foreign education providers.
Maastricht would certainty be interested to open an offshore campus in India if the Foreign Education Bill gets the final approval. They have invested lot of quality time in building up worthwhile relationships with India between champions in various research and education fields. This is an exciting time for India in further developing its higher education structure and Maastricht has much knowledge and quality education/research to share with India.
INSEAD, the business School for the world follows a unique model. The school has multi-locations in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi and each operate a home campus offshore campus study centers or subsidiaries. Faculty is recruited globally for all the locations and they have strong links with the local academic community. What drives INSEAD is diversity – different nationalities, cultures, perspectives. Off shores campuses can dilute quality and damage the brand name of an institution.
Darden recognizes the strategies importance of significant engagement in India. They are forging closer ties with India’s top business schools such as ISB, XLRI, IIM – A. Their interest in exchange of students and faculty with the best schools is to ensure that their school and community are closely tied with the top talent in Indian education. For the future they look to have more collaborative academics ties.
Education in New Zealand does not believe that a large number of institutes are planning to set up off shore campuses in India in the near future. It is more likely that will continue to explore other forms of offshore delivery such as twinning programs and delivery of specific programs at Indian institutions.