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Study at Oxford, staying at home

delhi Updated: Oct 16, 2008 00:19 IST
Prasad Nichenametla

Staying at home and attending daily lectures in the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard. Impossible? Well, not so much, if a legislation to be tabled in the next Parliament session goes through.

The legislation, the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operation, Maintenance of Quality and Prevention of Commercialisation) Bill, 2007, was mulled by the UPA about four years ago.

According to government estimates, Indian students spend more than $3 billion a year on foreign education. The government also thinks that this outflow could be checked if educational facilities at home are improved to world standards.

The Prime Minister Office is keen on the Bill on partnership in education with different countries. During the recent US visit of PM Man Mohan Singh, US President George W. Bush expressed his keenness on stronger partnerships in education.

The Bill, cleared by the Cabinet about one and a half years ago, is gathering dust because of the Left parties’ opposition to opening up the higher education sector. The HRD ministry is now considering some changes in the bill to accommodate the Left too before sending it for a fresh cabinet approval.

In fact, in order to enable top class universities to set up their campuses here, a Group of Ministers formed in July 2006 recommended several relaxations for reputed foreign institutions.

But there are impediments too. Issues like implementation of quotas in such foreign institutes are still undecided, besides the institutes having to fork out at least 51 per cent of the total investment required.