In January this year, the University Grants Commission (UGC) issued guidelines allowing foreign higher educational institutions (FHEI) to set up their campuses in India. The UGC also invited responses to its draft guidelines. Once established, such campuses will not only help Indian students achieve a world-class degree but also give domestic education institutions a chance to bloom against competition.
According to eligibility criteria, two categories of foreign institutions may set up campuses in India – universities that have secured a position within the Top 500 of overall or subject-wise global ranking or a reputed institution in its home jurisdiction.
As per data shared in Parliament, between 2017 and 2022, more than 30 lakh Indians sought higher education abroad. While sharing the information, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education Subhas Sarkar clarified that the number is based on declaration that their purpose of foreign visit is for studies or education. The aim is to tap into this group.
Indian students abroad
The minister also informed the Lok Sabha, while answering an unstarred question in early February, “The Bureau of Immigration, Ministry of Home Affairs maintains departure and arrival data of Indians. But there is no index for capturing the category of Indians going abroad for higher education purposes.
Purpose of Indians going abroad for higher education is captured manually based either on their verbal disclosure or the type of visa of the destination country produced by them at the time of immigration clearance.”
The same month, the minister stated in an answer in the Rajya Sabha that the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 has envisioned that “top universities in the world will be facilitated to operate in India.”
For this, Sarkar added, “a legislative framework facilitating such entry will be put in place, and such universities will be given special dispensation regarding regulatory, governance, and content norms on par with other autonomous institutions of India.”
Accordingly, he said, the UGC has drafted enabling regulations to facilitate the establishment of campuses of FHEIs in India. The draft ‘University Grants Commission (Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India) Regulations, 2023’, has been placed in the public domain seeking feedback, suggestions, comments from all the stakeholders.
In the beginning, such universities will be granted permission to set up campuses for 10 years. Renewal will depend on their fulfilling UGC conditions. Based on the approval of a ‘Letter of Intent (LoI)’, the FHEI is expected to begin establishing its Indian campus and building infrastructure within two years.
World-class foreign universities and institutions will be allowed in the GIFT City (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City) to offer courses in Financial Management, FinTech, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics free from domestic regulations, except those by IFSCA to facilitate availability of highend human resources for financial services and technology.
The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) was established on April 27, 2020, under the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019. It is headquartered at GIFT City, Gandhinagar.
It is the unified financial regulator for IFSCs in India, and notified IFSCA (Setting up and Operation of International Branch Campus and Offshore Education Centres) Regulations, 2022, which has received encouraging response from reputed foreign universities from across the world.
Nod to Deakin varsity
The IFSCA has granted in-principleapproval to Deakin University, a premier institute of Australia, based on the recommendation of the Committee of Experts set up by the GIFT City Company Limited.
By virtue of this approval, Deakin University will be able to host the same degree courses it offers in Australia in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Financial Management in GIFT IFSC to both Indian and foreign students. The degree offered shall be identical or like that offered in the home jurisdiction.
The setting up of world-class educational institutions in GIFT IFSC will contribute to developing a robust extended ecosystem and make available high-end human resources to the financial institutions operating out of GIFT City. It will also promote deep collaboration between academia and industry resulting in financial innovations.
It is expected that the entry of the first foreign university into GIFT IFSC will set the stage for many more institutions of global repute to follow, going by the expressions of interest received so far.
Such campuses will indeed bring international exposure to students along with advanced teaching methods and research opportunities etc.
According to Injeti Srinivas, Chairperson, IFSCA, “Apart from making available world-class education within India (GIFT-IFSC), it is also expected to be a huge value proposition in terms of reduced costs for students with greater international employment opportunities. This will also lead to greater internationalisation of GIFT-IFSC by attracting students from all parts of the World.”
Leave a Reply