I For International?

News: Recent reports suggest that IITs are in talks to open up outposts in Britain.

This article says, IITs expanding abroad is a good idea. But there is need of more radical reform.

Why there is need of reforms in higher education institutions?

One, the IITs are widely respected in India but there is no clarity whether IITs are competitive enough to offer education product in a foreign and more advanced market.

Two, IITs success is mostly built on the fact that some of the smartest of students prepare for months to get in, via competitive examination. Hence, students do better due to their own merit. It is not known that how much of their success is due to pedagogy and research quality in IITs, including in the older institutions.

Three, 2019 CAG audit of eight IITs found them in poor condition. For instance, states haven’t provided land properly, labs are inadequate, little research is sponsored by non-government sources and over a five-year period these IITs obtained zero patents.

The audit also accused the governing bodies for poor supervision. That’s why lot has to be done before foreign expansion.

What about foreign universities setting up campuses in India?

First, Union Cabinet approved first proposal to allow foreign universities to set up branches in India in 2010. IIT Bombay also started work on opening an applied science campus in New York City. But both projects did not materialize.

Second, National Education Policy 2020 indicated that top foreign universities will be allowed and Budget 2022 suggested that they will be allowed to operate in Gujarat’s GIFT city without having to follow restrictive domestic rules.

Third, there was also the GoI proposal of creating institutions of excellence.

What is the way forward?

First, there is need to address the broader issue of reforming the university. NEP has also proposed a reformed higher education regulator.

Second, GoI and states must acknowledge that for-profit private investment encourages enterprise to increase quality. Because good faculty, good labs, good libraries, a good campus, all of this require money. Also, deserving students who can’t pay should get government scholarships.

Source: This post is based on the article “I For International?” published in Times of India on 17th Feb 2022.

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