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UGC working on roadmap to help foreign universities set up Indian campuses, says chairman

M. Jagadesh Kumar says UGC will clarify the process, legal & bureaucratic frameworks. In a 2021 survey, foreign universities had cited govt approvals, fee regulation as challenges.

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New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) is working on a regulation that will enable foreign universities to set up campuses in India, its chairman M. Jagadesh Kumar announced at an event Wednesday. 

“Hopefully, in another two months or so, we will come out with a draft regulation and put it out for stakeholders’ feedback. We are also working on preparing a regulation to enable our Indian institutes, whether they are state-funded universities, private or central universities, to be able to open their own campuses abroad,” he added.

Kumar said this regulation will provide a clear roadmap to institutions on the process and criteria, as well as the legal and bureaucratic framework for universities to set up campuses in India.

He was speaking at the ‘Indian Education Summit’ organised by The Indian Express, a three-day event for stakeholders from various domains of the education sector to hold discussions on the most pressing issues in the space.

The UGC chairman’s announcement was in line with the new National Education Policy (NEP) announced in 2020, under which the government had allowed foreign institutions to establish campuses in India.

At present, foreign institutions can only collaborate with Indian institutions to offer courses, and do not have campuses of their own. 

Also Read: ‘Will college degrees carry same weight abroad as university’s?’ UGC reform norms find few takers

A 2021 survey didn’t find many takers

In 2021, a survey conducted among 43 foreign universities by the Delhi-based National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration had found that not many were interested in setting up campuses in India.

Out of the 43 universities across 11 countries that participated, only eight expressed interest. Of these, five were from the United States, and one each from the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

The universities that expressed interest cited “government approvals” and “changing public perception” as the biggest challenges in the process.

Similarly, respondents who said they were not interested also cited “government approvals”, as well as “regulation of fees”, as problems. 

All eight universities that indicated they would “definitely consider” India as an ideal destination for establishing an international branch campus underlined the importance of a “liberal regulatory framework” to enhance the perception of India being a favourable destination for foreign universities to set up campuses. 

1 Italian & 1 French institute ‘interested’

Last month, Minister of State for Education Subhas Sarkar had told Parliament that a French institute and an Italian institute had expressed interest in establishing campuses in India. 

“The Ministry of External Affairs has informed that the French side has expressed interest in setting up a university campus for higher education courses in India. Further, Istituto Marangoni (Italy) had expressed interest to establish a foreign, fully independent higher education institute of fashion and design in India,” Sarkar had said.

While the Istituto Marangoni is a private school of fashion and design based in Milan, Sarkar didn’t share any information about the French institute.

In February, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had in her Budget speech stated that world class campuses would be set up in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), Gandhinagar. 

“World-class foreign universities and institutions will be allowed in the GIFT City to offer courses in financial management, fintech, science, technology, engineering and mathematics free from domestic regulations, except those by IFSCA ,” she had said, referring to the International Financial Services Centres Authority, India’s regulator for international financial services.

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

Also Read: 80% foreign medical graduates fail India’s licence exam. Here’s what they end up doing instead


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