India should set up more of its own higher education institutions with foreign collaboration rather than foreign institutions setting up their campuses here, said Professor Eric Thomas, president, Universities UK - the representative organisation of the British Universities.
Answering a question on the proposed legislation to allow and regulate foreign education providers in the country, Thomas, vice-chancellor of Bristol University said his university has no such plans to set up a campus in India or anywhere outside UK.
"Going to some other country to set up campus is a centuries old model akin to sailing all the way here to do business. We could build much better institutions with collaboration and co-operation, exchanges in fields ranging from human resources, science and technology," Thomas told HT.
Thomas stated the thoughts as his personal but the opinion seems the same with other universities as well. "We have no plans or ideas of setting a campus in India, though we would like to explore the possibilities of collaborating with institutions here," Simon Buckle, Pro-Rector for International Relations, Imperial College - a top UK university said.
Thomas and Buckle are in New Delhi as part of a delegation of 15 British universities for the UK-India Education and Research Initiative conference on skills development.
The Foreign Education Institutions (regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill to allow foreign institutions and regulate their operations was introduced in Parliament in May 2010 and is awaiting nod of both the houses.
"India could welcome foreign universities which would be good but to match its requirement of millions of educated, skilled human resources it should set up as many institutions as possible more so drawing from collaboration and experiences world over," Thomas said.
Such an alliance between India and UK, Thomas said would be a win-win situation.
"We both have a relation ranging over centuries and having adopted similar structures - in governance, education. That way UK people understand India better than others. The compatibility would be vast, like the tandoori chicken which has become our national dish."