New Delhi: As part of his ongoing visit to India, Australian Education Minister Dan Tehan is set to meet his Indian counterpart Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank Friday. The setting up of Australian educational institutions’ campuses in India will be a key agenda in the meet.
The move assumes significance in view of the Narendra Modi government’s decision last month to allow foreign varsities to set up campuses in India in future.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) currently allows foreign universities to operate in India only in collaboration with an Indian higher educational institution partner. With the change in rules, foreign universities will be allowed to set up their own campuses in India.
A provision for the same will be made in the Higher Education Commission of India Bill, which the Modi government has formulated. Seeking to create a single body that replaces two higher education regulatory bodies — UGC and the All India Council for Technical Education — the bill will be placed before the Cabinet during the ongoing Parliament session.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Dehan said, “I am looking forward to meet my Indian counterpart — the HRD Minister of India — and we will discuss all kinds of education opportunities between the two countries.”
He added, “23 per cent of our international students study offshore, in campuses that our universities have in other countries, for instance, in Singapore, in Malaysia, in Vietnam… So one of the things that I would love to see is — and if your new education policy implements this — if there will be a possibility for Australian universities to invest in India… So Indian students will be able to study out of Australia.”
Tehan confirmed that the two ministers will talk about possibilities of setting up of Australian universities’ campuses in India.
Indian campuses in Australia, too
In his interaction with reporters, Dan Tehan also said Australia is looking at Indian institutions to set up campuses in there.
“Some Indian education providers have expressed interest in setting up campuses in our country and we are looking at the proposal positively,” he said.
This academic year saw a 39 per cent increase in the number of Indian students who went to Australia over 2018-19 — from 89,000 to over 1 lakh.
Out of all the international students in Australia currently, Indians make up for 15 per cent. Australia is one of the top preferred destinations for Indian students looking to studying abroad after the US and UK.
In the past, successive governments made several attempts to allow entry of foreign universities in India but failed. The UPA government had brought in the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill, 2010 when Kapil Sibal was the HRD minister. However, the bill didn’t make it through the Parliament.