In a move aimed at revolutionizing the education sector in India, the Modi government is considering a plan to allow top foreign universities from the US, the UK, Australia and other countries to set up off-campus centres in India. The proposal to allow some universities to set up centres in India is a part of the Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP), which is a five-year vision plan on higher education. The plan is a part of the government’s vision of “internationalization of education” in India.
The EQUIP has been prepared by 10 groups led by experts, including former revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, principal scientific advisor to Prime Minister K Vijay Raghavan, former Infosys CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan and founder of Rediff.com, Ajit Balakrishnan. The report is aimed at giving shape to a five-year project to revamp higher education in India. The ambitious vision plan was released a couple of days ago by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), in accordance with the decision of PM Modi.
The plan recommends that universities, more specifically, those among the top 200 in the world, should be permitted to set up and operate off-campus centres in India. Presently, global education brands including the Harvard Business School, University of Chicago, Deakin University and Virginia Tech have been permitted to open research centres.
A senior official in the Ministry said, “EQUIP is an implementation plan to the reforms related to higher education in the national education policy and we are already working towards following its recommendations.” There is also a proposal to allow “reputed” Indian institutes of higher education, public and private, which meet specified eligibility criteria to set up “off-campus centres in select countries”. The proposal said, “MHRD will come up with enabling provisions to permit the top-ranked institutions participating in the ‘Study in India’ program to set up their off-campus centres abroad.”
Moreover, the plan has also said that the Foreign Education Providers Bill will be “relooked with an open mind” by Modi government. The Bill was originally brought in the Parliament in 2013 during the Manmohan Singh government. However, it had been stuck in the pipeline and had lapsed.
This is an unprecedented move, completely off the usual path of “changing the education system” that subsequent governments have time and again promised. Not just introducing foreign university centres in India, there is a proposal to allow reputed Indian institutes to set up campuses in countries all over the world. This move will only popularize and increase the brand value of the Indian universities, which will ultimately lead to placements in multinational companies. It will also attract foreign students to study in India.
The trend of youths opting for foreign education in India is increasing. This puts a big strain on their economic condition, as foreign education is very expensive. Moreover, when students go to foreign countries to educate themselves, the living expenses also have to be taken in account, which is again quite a lot.
The economy of the country is also deeply affected when the funds of the educated youth in the country are spent in other countries. The current scenario also leads to the often heard of phenomenon, ‘brain drain’, as the youth, when they go to foreign countries to study, often stay back and take up lucrative jobs there itself. The Modi government appears keen on enhancing the quality of higher education in India.
The opening of such centres will enable Indian students to avail top education and spend marginally less on it. The introduction of such centres will also help in creating a competitive environment for existing Indian Universities and will help in revamping higher education in India.