The Tall Claims of the Foreign Education Bill
May 24, 2016
The government is all set to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India and allow them to repatriate profits from operations here. Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the NITI Aayog to study all reports regarding setting up of foreign universities and the reasons it could not move forward. The NITI Aayog has submitted a report to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Human Resource Development in favour of inviting foreign universities to set up campuses in India. As per the proposed plans, the Centre is working to make it easy for foreign universities to set up campuses in India in collaboration with local partners.
Governments have in the past made several attempts to enact legislation for the entry, operation and regulation of foreign universities in the country. The first was in 1995, after the setting up of the World Trade Organisation, when a Bill was introduced but could not go forward. In 2005-06 too, the draft law failed to get cabinet approval. The last attempt was by UPA-II in 2010 in the shape of the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill, which failed to pass muster in parliament and lapsed in 2014 since it was opposed by the BJP, the Left parties and the Samajwadi Party.
One of the reservations regarding foreign universities operating in India is that they would raise the cost of education, rendering it out of reach for a large part of the population. To discuss this, NewsClick interviewed Abha Dev Habib, executive council member, Delhi University. According to her the argument that foreign universities coming to India will stop brain drain is not valid and will not stop the phenomenon. Excerpts from the interview:
First published in Newsclick: see here for a transcript of the interview.
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