In a remarkable step towards an overhaul of India’s higher education, the University Grants Commission (UGC), on Thursday, announced a draft policy allowing leading foreign universities such as Yale, Oxford, and Stanford to set up campuses and award degrees as part of an overhaul of India’s higher education.
In a country that is witness to lakhs of students going abroad for education each year, according to the draft norms announced, the foreign universities can set up their campuses in India, decide their admission process, and fee structure, and will also be able to repatriate funds to their parent campuses.
The local campus of these universities will be responsible to decide on admission criteria both for the domestic and foreign students, any kind of scholarship, and sending back funds to their countries, as per the draft. The institutions will have the autonomy to hire faculty and staff.
However, as of now, the final norms will be approved by the end of the month after going through the feedback received by the commission. The step aims to draw foreign universities that lie within the top 500 of overall or subject-wise global rankings or are reputed in their home countries.
While, the given step is in accordance with the National Education Policy, 2020, which envisages a legislative setup and frame to allow top global universities to operate in India, such steps were made even by the UPA Government in the past but had faced resistance, including from the BJP which was in the Opposition then, and the Left parties.
While the draft UGC (Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India) Regulations 2023, released after UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar’s announcement, claims to offer considerable freedom to foreign education players willing to get into the Indian market, with specially emphasising that they shall not offer any such “program of study that jeopardizes the national interest of India or the standards of higher education in India”.
“The operation of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions 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,” the draft adds.