The cabinet on Monday okayed the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill, which once passed by Parliament will allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India.
Like private universities in the country, the foreign ones too — whether private or state-owned — won’t have to implement affirmative action-driven quotas for any category of students. There will also be no state-imposed restriction on the fees they charge.
But, foreign education providers will not be allowed to repatriate any of the profits they earn.
“The bill will create a new category of educational institutions not shackled by Indian education regulators,” said a Human Resource Development Ministry source. “But there will be independent audits to ensure these are not being run merely for profit.”
The bill was held up for more than four years due to opposition from the Left, on whose outside support UPA-I depended.
Institutions such as Duke University, US, and Imperial College, London, have shown interest in opening an India campus, sources said.
But Ivy League colleges in the US were not keen. “We have no specific plans in terms of opening a campus in India in the near future,” said George Joseph, assistant secretary for international affairs at Yale University. “My impression is the Ivy League institutions and others such as MIT and Stanford will not be keen either.” He did not say why.
By allowing foreign universities into India, the government hopes to stem the increasing number of Indian students going abroad for higher education.
According to government figures, $2.247 billion worth of foreign exchange went out of the country as remittance towards tuition fees and other expenses by Indian student in 2008-09.