Foreign university bill introduced in Lok Sabha


New Delhi : Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal Monday introduced the foreign university bill, which aims to allow foreign institutions set up campuses in India, in the Lok Sabha amid strong protests by Left MPs.

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By allowing foreign institutions to set up a campus in the country, the Foreign Education Institutions (Regulation of Entry And Operations) Bill, 2010, is expected to facilitate quality education in India itself and reduce the flow of Indian students abroad.

Thousands of Indian students annually go to the US, Britain and Australia among other countries to study in foreign universities.

Sibal said the bill has provisions to regulate the entry and operation of foreign institutions, which will set up a campus and offer degrees in India.

“The enactment of a legislation regulating entry and operation of all the foreign educational institutions is necessary to maintain the standards of higher education within the country as well to protect the interest of the students and in public interest,” he said in a statement of the bill’s objects and reasons.

The bill is part of the government’s continued focus on education reform.

“A number of foreign educational institutions have been operating in the country and some of them may be resorting to various malpractices to allure and attract students,” the minister said, noting that there is “no comprehensive and effective policy for regulation on the operations of all the foreign educational institutions in the country”.

“Due to lack of policy or regulatory regime it has been very difficult to make meaningful assessment of the operations of the foreign educational institutions and absence of such meaningful assessment has given rise to chances of adoption of various unfair practices besides commercialisation,” he said.

At present, only the All India Council for Technical Education has notified regulations for entry and operation of foreign universities and institutions to impart technical education in India.

The bill provides that the foreign educational institution “shall not impart education in India unless it is recognised and notified by the central government as a foreign education provider under the proposed legislation” and offers education in conformity with the standards laid down by the statutory authority, and of comparable quality.

The bill provides that “the central government may refuse to recognise and notify a foreign educational institution as foreign education provider if it is not in the interest of sovereignty, integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality or sensitivity of location of the foreign educational institutions”.

Among the foreign universities likely to set up shop in India are Boston University, Harvard and Yale University from the US.