The world’s leading universities such as Harvard and Yale could soon be allowed to open colleges in India under new legislation proposed by the government, a report said Thursday.
India has a severe shortage of higher education institutions and a booming population with more than 30 percent of its 1.1 billion people under 14 years old.
Human resources development minister Kapil Sibal said that inviting foreign universities into the country could help provide some of the millions of young people with skills needed in the fast-growing economy.
“I do not see why foreign institutions should not be allowed,” Sibal told the Financial Times, spelling out a policy announced in parliament last week.
“We should have the legislation passed that puts in place a mechanism, framework and regulator for the foreign universities to start functioning.”
Sibal said the new laws, which would likely face strong opposition in parliament, could be in place by July next year in time for the start of the next academic year.
For decades, India’s best and brightest students have headed abroad to complete their education with many never returning.
But the government has said that improving education facilities is key to the country’s future development.
Sibal dismissed expected criticism that his plans would encourage foreign interference and higher fees.
“We will discuss all these matters and push to have a discussion in the cabinet in coming weeks. By developing consensus we expect all issues to be resolved,” he said.