Regulating foreign universities in India


Recently, the government has renewed its push for foreign universities in India.

Need of the foreign Universities bill

  1. Legal framework
  • India lacks a legal framework to allow foreign educational institutions to set up campuses and award degrees.
  • The University Grants Commission Act says that only universities set up by Parliament or a state legislature, and those declared deemed universities by the government, can award degrees
  1. Regularize collaborative arrangement
  • It will help to regulate temporary collaborative arrangement between Indian and foreign institutes.
  • Under this arrangement only few globally renowned universities collaborate with India.

  1. Improve infrastructure and quality
  • It would help in building a good infrastructure, better study material, exposure to the foreign education
  • It would serve the needs of students who are seeking higher education. It would increase choices for students
  1. Research culture
  • Foreign collaboration would help to improve research culture in country through collaborative engagements between Indian and India-based foreign universities.
  • It will improve the Doctoral degree quality
  • It will develop a healthy competition and will bring a positive change to the education system.
  • This will also help to improve performance of Indian universities in global ranking
  1. Foreign Exchange
  • Large number of Indian students move abroad for higher education which leads to loss of foreign exchange. It is estimated to be around $10b a year.
  1. It would attract good foreign Universities and Institutions
  2. To Stops brain drain

Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulations of Entry and Operations) Bill, 2010

  • The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2010.
  • This Bill was meant to introduce a comprehensive regulatory mechanism to regulate foreign Universities in India.
  • The bill was lapsed with the dissolution of loksabha

Key feature

  • Recognition and notification by central government is essential for foreign educational institution to impart education in India
  • The quality of education, curriculum, methods of imparting education, and the faculty should be the same as those employed by the institution in its main campus.
  • The institution should maintain a corpus fund of not less than ₹50 crore or such sum as may be notified by the Central government.
  • Up to 75% of any income generated from the corpus fund shall be utilized for developing its institution in India and rest should be put back in the fund.
  • The Centre can refuse to recognise and notify a foreign educational institution as a foreign education provider if it is not in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, etc.
  • Any disputes under the Bill would be heard under the National Educational Tribunal, also a forum proposed.


Knowledge commission (2006)

  • Formulation of policies for entry of foreign institutions in India and
  • Promotion of Indian institutions abroad

Draft National Education Policy

  • Top 200 universities in the world should be encouraged to collaborate with Indian institution

NITI Aayog

  • NITI Aayog supports the foreign Universities in India.
  • It had suggested one executive and two legislative routes, which the human resource development ministry would soon examine to decide the best option

Legislative measures

  • Amend the UGC Act to allow foreign campuses that will operate as full-fledged universities in India

Executive measures

  • Permit joint ventures between Indian and foreign institutions by tweaking UGC and AICTE regulations
  • Recognize campuses opened by foreign universities as deemed universities through UGC regulation


  1. Vested interest of foreign Universities
  • Foreign universities may come with commercial motive. This may raise the cost of higher education in India
  • Most foreign institutes invest in technical courses which market needs rather than in quality education and research which is important for creating and developing human resource.
  1. Weakening of Indian universities
  • Foreign Universities demand greater autonomy and relaxed regulatory norms. This would create a difference between Indian and foreign institutes
  • Foreign universities may attract best faculty from Indian institutes subsequently making them weak.
  1. Danger of low grade institutions
  • Global experiences shows that majority of institutions entering foreign market are not prestigious universities but rather low-grade institutions seeking market access and income opportunities.
  1. Weakening of regulator
  • There may be problem with quality of courses in the absence of government regulation of foreign universities
  1. Foreign universities offered innovative methodologies and abundant flexibility to its academicians and students. This may continue to attract large number of Indian students abroad
  2. Foreign universities doesn’t guarantee mass education

Way Ahead

  • Intensive consultation with all stakeholders should be undertaken before granting permission to foreign universities.
  • The government should ensure that surplus revenue generated in India by a foreign education provider shall be invested for the growth and development of the educational institutions established by it in India.
  • The government should take necessary to stop flight of quality faculty from existing Institutions in India
  • Foreign universities should be shortlisted first and then invite them to set campus in India. Low grade universities should not be allowed entry in the country.
  • Programs, that require huge investments, but are strategic, should be given more priority
  • Programs that are only accredited by International standards be allowed to operate in India.
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