University Grants Commission proposed a draft on Thursday, for the establishment and operation of foreign universities in the country. UGC says it will improve the quality of education and research. The draft legislation will allow Indian students will gain exposure to world-class learning within the country.
The universities can set up campuses as per recommendations from the National Education Policy released in 2020. NEP envisages a legislative framework to allow top global universities to operate in India. Past attempts, including by the UPA government, faced resistance, including from the then-opposition BJP. The draft is now put forth for public feedback and review.
The draft bill notes that UGC will only allow the top 500 institutions globally in their respective discipline to set up and operate out of India. The bill mandates that the quality of the education imparted and the value of the degree be at par with the main campus of the foreign university.
The institutions will have permission to decide the fee structure, which should be transparent. The bill also states that foreign universities with campuses in the country can only offer full-time programs in offline mode and not online or distance learning. Once the universities have applied, they will receive an initial approval of 10 years. The agreement will only be renewed subject to the meeting of certain conditions.
UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar has clarified that the programs cannot compromise on the national interest of India. “The operation of FHEIs shall not be contrary to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency, or morality,” says the draft.
Most foreign education aspirants all over the country are welcoming this move. Many believe that this draft will reduce the expenses of traveling and visa problems, among other issues. A few people have pointed out that the move will require close monitoring from the government.
In many parts of India, foreign education is turning into a norm. Nearly 6.5 lakh students went to other countries for education in 2022, reported The Hindu. That is a 137% increase since 2021.