Source: This post is created based on the article “UGC guidelines on foreign universities: The University Gimmicks Commission”, published in Indian Express on 9th January 2023.
Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 2, Social Issues, Issues associate with education
News: University Grants Commission (UGC) has allowed entry of foreign universities in India through new guidelines. However, there are many issues associated with these reforms that require a proper discussion.
What are the challenges to the success of UGC guidelines on foreign universities?
First, top universities like Princeton, Stanford, Yale and Oxford don’t have any branch campuses anywhere in the world, even in the countries with most liberal regulatory environments. Why would they establish their branches in India?
Second, majority of the foreign universities, operating globally, are not top-tier institutions. Some of the top tier universities like NYU Abu Dhabi are operating with massive subsidies from the home government. If one checks the C-BERT list that maintains a comprehensive list of international campuses, most foreign campuses are very small, with an average size of 300-400 students.
Third, as per the guidelines, UGC will ensure that the qualifications of the faculty assigned to India will be the same as those of the faculty in the parent institution. However, if the qualification means that the faculty is to be exceptional like in top universities, they might not take interest as they won’t have the economic or lifestyle incentives, unless either their salaries are matched or exceeded.
Fourth, when India has many investors that can create a university similar to foreign ones, why they are not investing? The answer lies in the regulatory uncertainty. Project like Institutions of Eminence revolution have not picked up due to that.
Fifth, UGC has been looking to standardise the admissions process for all public universities and trying to burb their autonomy as well. How is it going to protect the autonomy and distinct identity of foreign universities.
Sixth, guidelines seem to have ignored the required combination of capital, vision, and human resources it takes to get a high-end research university.