Foreign Universities Regulations Reflect Modi Government’s Indifference To Higher Education

Norms recently drafted the University Grants Commission (UGC) to invite foreign universities to open campuses in India have received a variegated response so far. 

Deepanshu Mohan

According to the norms – titled ‘University Grants Commission (Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India) Regulations, 2023’ – announced by the statutory body’s chairperson M. Jagadesh Kumar, foreign universities will now be allowed to set up their campuses in India; decide their admission process; fee structure and will also nbe able to “repatriate” funds to their parent campuses.  

At this point, the announced measures appear consistent with the broader aim of the National Education Policy (2020), which allows for a flexible regulatory environment to allow top global universities to set up base in India.

The rationale, it seems for the UGC – and the government – is to also discourage Indian students from going abroad to study and seek “quality education” in India through the support of foreign higher education institution (FHEIs) – while allowing the latter to earn and repatriate profits to their home campuses.

A key question worth asking here is, will Ivy League institutions like Harvard, Yale and Princeton be actually incentivised by the announcement and set up campus-offshoots in India? One must also ask why some of these institutions haven’t done this already in many other countries, where regulatory incentives are more generous and lucrative than India. 

A recent study observing the Cross-Border Education Research Team (C-BERT) database reveals that as of 2020….