Janhavi Patil, lecturer at MIT International School of Broadcasting and Journalism in Pune, studies the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill
Recently the Union Cabinet cleared the Foreign Educational Institutions (regulation of entry and operation) Bill, which will allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India.
While everyone – from students to teachers to parents – seem to be welcoming this idea, it is necessary to gauge the long-term effects of, as HRD Minister Kapil Sibal puts it, a large “revolution”.
Says Dr S F Patil, former President of Association of Indian Universities (and former Vice-Chancellor, Bharatiya Vidyapeeth University, Pune) says, “If foreign colleges are established here, teachers will be in demand. There will also be competition. Indian students and teachers will be attracted to the foreign universities. Hence Indian universities will try to improve to retain them. The standard of education will get better.”
The flipside though is that as per the government norms the money the foreign universities generate will have to remain in India. This might discourage the top foreign universities from coming to India.
“However if the best universities do come here, we will try to learn from them. We will have more number of scientists, doctors and engineers. Today, India borrows most of its technology from abroad. Eventually, this might help India become very self-sufficient in technology,” adds Dr Patil.
India has qualified teachers, but many are underpaid. The foreign universities will absorb such lecturers and offer them better pay scales.
“The teaching fraternity will certainly benefit. Teachers will also get the scope to diversify their teaching skills. Professors will get opportunities to publish their research articles. Private colleges in India charge lakhs of fees. Foreign universities might offer new and the latest curriculum in the same or lesser fees. This would be an advantage for the students. Also, students might get direct placements abroad, having studied in a foreign institute in India,” says Sushma Patel, Vice-Principal of a CBSE school in Baroda (Bright Day School).
India needs more educational institutes. We have a larger youth population. The foreign universities will offer new subjects. They might create lots of opportunities in the longer run.
Today, we see education being commercialised. If the foreign universities have this aspect in mind and if the Indian government cannot control this, then it will turn out to be a major concern.
To sum it up, the higher education system will benefit if these universities are allowed to set up colleges here. It will take us a step closer to “academic globalisation”.
The writer, Janhavi Patil is a lecturer of Mass Communication at MIT’s International School of Broadcasting and Journalism in Pune.