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What are the regulations announced for foreign universities in India?

  • Published
    7th Jan, 2023
Context

Amid the several European universities have shown keen interest to open campuses in India, the higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) released draft regulations to allow foreign universities to enter India. 

About the guidelines:
  • Criteria for Foreign universities:
    • Only the universities that are placed at the top 500either in the overall or the subject-wise category, in global rankings such as QS, can apply to enter India.
    • Universities that do not participate in such rankings must be “reputed” in their countries to be able to apply.
    • The draft regulations do not specify a metric to judge the ‘reputation’ of the university.
  • Key provisions:
    • They have been granted free will to decide the fee structure and admission criteria for students.
    • The universities have the autonomy to their professors and faculty from India or abroad.
    • They can repatriate funds from their home jurisdiction.
    • They are not abiding to offer courses that are in favour of India’s national interest.
  • Provisions in favour of India:
    • The draft states that the UGC will have the right to inspect the campuses at any time.
    • The draft says the UGC shall impose a penalty and/ or suspend/ withdraw its approval at any time if the university’s activities or academic programmes are against the interest of India.
    • It also requires the foreign universities to submit audit reports and annual reports to the UGC certifying that operations in India are in compliance with Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999(FEMA) and other relevant government policies.
  • Significance of the initiative:
    • In line with National Education Policy 2020:
    • The top universities in the world will be facilitated to operate in India, and a legislative framework facilitating such entry will be put in place, and such universities will be given special dispensation regarding regulatory, governance, and content norms on par with other autonomous institutions of India.
    • In a way, the draft regulations released seek to institutionalise the NEP’s vision.

Recent developments:

  • King’s College London has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Telangana regarding collaborative research projects, staff and student exchanges, as well as curriculum development and upskilling in Telangana Pharma City.

Why were previous attempts in India failed?

  • Due to Non-compliance with funds or repatriation: In 2016, the NITI Aayog strongly pitched for foreign education providers to be allowed into India.
    • The draft regulations say that all cross-border flow of funds, including through repatriation, will be covered by the Foreign Exchange Management Act, of 1999.
  • Due to the political scenario in the country before 2014.

Similar Government Interventions:

  • The Young Professionals Scheme:
    • Under the scheme, the U.K. will offer about 3,000 degree-holding Indians in the 18–30-year age group places to work in the U.K. for up to two years.
    • The scheme will commence in early 2023. Both India and UK will allow young professionals in their Countries to hold degree programs.

India is the first country to benefit from such a scheme, highlighting the strength of the UK-India Migration and Mobility Partnership agreed upon last year.

  • Objective: The Young Professionals Programme is a recruitment initiative aiming to improve geographical representation, and promote gender parity in the Organization at the international level.
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