Foreign universities will set up campuses in India solely to make money and not for philanthropy

UGC has recently announced the setting up and operation of campuses of foreign higher educational institutes in India. As per the regulations, foreign universities will have the liberty to set up their campuses in the country and devise admission processes and fee structures. While the move aims to internationalise India’s education system, many experts point out the increasing competition and the need to fix the loopholes in the system.
“If the government is hoping to target the foreign aspirants in India with this move, then I am doubtful whether these students will opt for studying in these foreign university campuses. This move is not going to stop the migration of foreign aspirants from India. The major competition of these institutions will be with the Indian private universities that have expensive fees,” says Ravi Ranjan, professor of Political Science, Zakir Husain Delhi College, University of Delhi.
The fee structure of these universities will be slightly higher than these private universities in the country. “These foreign universities are not coming to India with an aim of philanthropy. Their motive is to do business and make money. They are not going to invest heavily in infrastructure or resources. These may collaborate with the rich private universities to run their programmes,” he says.
On what kind of universities will set up their campuses in the country, Ranjan says, “The elitist universities such as the Ivy League are not going to set up their campuses in the country since creating the same brand is not easy. The Ivy League and other top-tier universities may not find an adequate return on investment in the professionals created by them as our country may not offer them very high-paying jobs similar to the US.”
If the government wants to fill the gaps in the education system, then it must try to increase the resources at the existing institutions. “The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) has made a significant improvement over the years. However, resources have not improved at the infrastructure level and there is no increase in the number of colleges or resources,” says Ranjan.
“Students who travel for education overseas not just get a degree but a whole new global exposure, they live in a new culture, learn a new language and acquire a unique experience. Hence, the move will not stop students’ mobility for education. Also, the real challenge will be to bring renowned professors and research setups to the satellite campuses to establish the legacy of prestigious global universities in India, says Piyush Kumar, regional director (South Asia and Mauritius), IDP Education.
BJ Rao, vice-chancellor, University of Hyderabad (UoH) says foreign universities will develop quality skill sets among the students if they get complete autonomy. “Foreign universities should not be constrained by the regulations of higher education in India. The system in India is bureaucratic, which may slow down the progress.”
“Foreign university campuses can boost the Indian higher education ecosystem. However, both foreign and Indian universities need to be given equal opportunities to excel,” feels Pankaj Mittal, secretary-general, Association of Indian Universities (AIU). “If foreign universities are being given autonomy, the same should be extended to the top Indian HEIs to have a fair competition. The global universities would create a competitive education ecosystem and set new standards for Indian universities. Universities like Harvard and MIT may not set up their campuses in India as they do not have any overseas campuses anywhere, but many other good foreign universities may come to India,” Mittal adds.

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