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Day 51 – Q.1 What is your opinion on the recent decision of the government to allow foreign universities to open their campuses in India? Critically comment.

  • IASbaba
  • January 17, 2023
  • 0
GS 1, Indian Society, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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What is your opinion on the recent decision of the government to allow foreign universities to open their campuses in India? Critically comment.

विदेशी विश्वविद्यालयों को भारत में अपने परिसर खोलने की अनुमति देने के सरकार के हालिया फैसले पर आपकी क्या राय है? समालोचनात्मक टिप्पणी करें।


Approach

In this question candidates need to write their opinion on recent govt decision on opening foreign university campuses in India and examine it critically .

Introduction

The government and the University Grants Commission’s decision to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India is a welcome move.The initiative will not only provide access to our students to global quality education but create healthy competition between institutions.

Body

The Indian government is set to welcome foreign universities — such as Harvard, Oxford and Yale  to India.

  • Foreign universities ranked in the Top 500 globally, as well as other “reputed” foreign higher education institutions, can set up campus in India — as outlined in the country’s National Education Policy (NEP), which was adopted in 2020.
  • Unveiling the plans last week, University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman pointed out that foreign universities with Indian campuses can only offer full-time programs “offline”  and not online or through distance learning.

Pros –

  • The government and the University Grants Commission’s decision to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India is a welcome move.
  • The initiative will not only provide access to our students to global quality education but create healthy competition between institutions.
  • In this milieu, professionalization of the functioning of HEIs has become a top priority for Indian universities.
  • Other challenges facing Indian higher education include coping with demographic structures, poor performance, adherence to traditional systems, digital divide, and struggles in scaling up. Over-centralization and a lack of accountability and professionalism are the other issues.
  • The burden of academic and administrative responsibilities has also significantly increased, diluting the core agenda of higher education, i.e., imparting knowledge, quality teaching and research, lack of domain expertise in academic administrators in improving governance structures has also hindered the progress of education reforms.
  • A primary reason management reforms are not prioritized in India is that university leadership and academic administrators may not have the domain expertise to improve the internal governance structures, processes, and managerial approaches.
  • Meanwhile, the uncertainty over higher education funding, ever-increasing student enrolment, global competition, the continuation of conventional systems, prioritizing digitization and the continuing marketisation of higher education signal the need for complete modernization and professionalization of higher education institutions systems.

Cons –

  • A report by India-based business consulting firm Red seer on higher education abroad estimates that the number of Indian students opting for higher education abroad grew from 440,000 in 2016, to 770,000 in 2019. That is set to grow to around 1.8 million by 2024.
  • Overseas spending was poised to grow from current annual $28 billion to $80 billion (€18.5 billion to €74 billion) annually by 2024.
  • Many students opt to go abroad for the experience, and for the income opportunity overseas which is not available in India.
  • However, some educators are not sure how much of an impact the move will have, and believe the more immediate need is to reform the current university system, where individuality is suppressed.
  • It isn’t clear that the top foreign institutions that are being targeted by this scheme would have any interest in coming to India, nor that the current political situation is conducive to their doing .
  • Currently, the space for any independent, critical analysis has been considerably restricted. This would certainly be on the minds of those who lead the foreign universities that are being invited here.
  • Establishing universities and campuses is a challenging proposition, not to mention developing courses, creating research facilities, hiring faculty workers and relocating international workers, among other considerations.
  • The new regulation allows the foreign institution free play, and they are given more freedom, which is not given to the Indian institution
  • “For instance, they can fix their fees, the admission norms, and have full freedom in faculty appointments
  • The decision by the UGC to permit foreign universities to establish branches in India will “harm” the nation’s higher education system.
  • “The policy will harm, dilute and destroy the Indian higher education system, leading to commercialization.
  • This decision will make education expensive and Dalits, minorities and the poor will be adversely affected. The decision is a reflection of the government’s pro-rich approach,” it said.
  • Setting up of foreign universities here was unavoidable in the age of globalization, and given that the barriers for exchange of goods, services and ideas is happening it was inevitable that education would be the last frontier, where all barriers would be dismantled.

Conclusion –

The proposal in the New Education Policy 2020 to allow foreign universities to set up offshore campuses in India can significantly alter the dynamics of higher education in India. It can also save India significant amounts of foreign exchange and, over time, also become a source of foreign exchange earnings if overseas students also choose to enrol at these campuses.

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