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Title Elated and Excited? Sizing up India’s latest attempt to welcome foreign education providers
Author Richard Garrett - The OBHE


India is a classic case of TNE confusion and complexity. The national government worries about domestic higher education capacity and the number of students who study abroad never to return, but is suspicious of foreign providers who offer help. A comprehensive regulatory framework for TNE in India has long been promised. The patchwork of guidance that exists, split across different government agencies, is both frustratingly vague and laboriously detailed. Quite a bit of TNE goes on in practice but must contend with lack of recognition, poor data and unpredictable enforcement of the rules.

On June 23rd, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani unveiled amended regulations for collaboration between Indian and foreign institutions. The big change is that Indian institutions may now apply directly to have a foreign collaboration approved. Under the old rules, formalized in 2012, the foreign partner had to apply. The Minister revealed that not a single foreign institution had filed an application, and blamed perceived bureaucracy. Irani vowed that applications- to the University Grants Commission, an HRD agency- would be acknowledged within a month and processed within two.

The Indian Council of Universities, representing private institutions, welcomed the changes. "All the members of ICU are elated and excited with this new policy of UGC. Previously there was no clarity about collaboration of Indian universities with foreign counterparts. Now the released new policy has well explained clarity how to go ahead for collaboration with foreign universities. This policy is indeed to build healthy relations with top universities of the world which is sure to help Indian students immensely." There appears to have been no official reaction from the Association of Indian Universities, the lead representative body.

So is the latest announcement from the Ministry a breakthrough or another false dawn?

Date 14/07/2016
Region(s) Asia
Countries India
Theme(s) Transnational Education (TNE) Models
Topic(s) Branch Campuses, International Collaborative Programmes, Joint Provision

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