Foreign Varsities in India: New Chapter to Tap Appetite of Students, Says UGC Chief | Exclusive

The new draft regulations on Foreign Higher Education Institutions (FHEIs) of the University Grants Commission (UGC) aim to open up the country to globalization of higher education and allow foreign branch campuses. India Open mindedness in terms of fee structure, admission policy and appointment of foreign faculty.

Following the announcement, UGC chairman M Jagadesh Kumar said in an interview to News18 that it would help tap the “huge appetite” of Indian students and allow them foreign qualifications at affordable cost.

Edited excerpts:

The new rules mean a big step forward – opening up the higher education system to foreign universities. What will this mean for India in the future?

The new UGC regulation on facilitating Foreign Higher Educational Institutions (FHEIs) to set up their campuses in India is a long-awaited value addition to Indian higher education. Healthy competition and collaboration will emerge between these campuses and Indian institutions, thereby improving general higher education standards. A win-win situation for India and foreign universities. It is a win for India as Indian students will have access to high quality education in India, and a win for foreign universities as they will be able to tap into the vast appetite of Indian students, whose numbers are on the rise.

Why has UGC decided to give free hand to FHEI to decide the fee structure and admission process? Will autonomy be able to achieve the objective envisaged by the NEP through these regulations?

The National Educational Policy (NEP) 2020 advocates a legislative framework to facilitate the entry of foreign universities into India. Such universities will be given special dispensation with respect to regulatory, governance and content norms at par with other autonomous institutions in India. Therefore, the regulatory framework of the UGC aims to allow entry of high ranked foreign universities, as envisaged in NEP 2020, to provide an international dimension to higher education, foreign qualifications at an affordable cost to Indian students To be able to achieve and build India. An attractive global study destination.

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What kind of foreign universities are showing interest in the policy and in which subjects?

We have received a number of queries with suggestions that they would be interested in considering this as an important possibility once the regulations are announced. Some countries in Europe are already in discussion with us. We hope that many foreign universities will take advantage of this opportunity to fulfill the aspirations of the students in the world’s second largest education system.

Will FHEI be allowed to run engineering and medical courses here?

Engineering schools in the university system come under the purview of the UGC. As engineering disciplines are popular in India, the campuses of FHEI will offer them. After discussion with the concerned regulator, we will ascertain whether these campuses of FHEI can start medical courses.

Will UGC have any role in FHEI in the matter of reservation for different categories of students similar to Indian origin institutions?

The FHEI will have complete autonomy in deciding the admission process and tuition fee structure. However, in order to take care of the interests of students who may not have the financial means, the regulation stipulates that full or partial need-based scholarships may be awarded by the FHEI, based on the assessment process, such as endowment Funds, alumni donations, tuition revenue and other sources.

Read this also | UGC issues draft rules for setting up foreign HEIs in India, invites feedback

How will the UGC monitor the functioning of these campuses to ensure that they do not offer any course that “endangers the national interest”, as mentioned in the draft rules?

As the UGC regulation is a legal document, such provisions relating to “national interest” are included as a safeguard and is a common practice in such documents globally. There is no need to read much in this. However, the Commission shall have the right to inspect the campus and its operation to ascertain the infrastructure, academic programs and overall quality and suitability.

Universities in many countries allow students to work part-time while studying for a specified number of hours. Will UGC allow this or make any rules for this?

If such practices exist at the main campus, the FHEI will have the autonomy to enforce similar practices at campuses in India.

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