Higher education is assuming a growing significance for developing countries, especially countries like India and China. India is experiencing service-led growth. Higher education is all about generating knowledge, encouraging critical thinking and imparting skills relevant to this society and driven by its needs.
The growth of India’s higher educational institutions has indeed been spectacularly rapid. The numbers of universities have doubled since 1990-91, and enrollment has more than doubled in this new decade. Government has proposed 100 percent foreign direct investment in higher education and hinted at making reservation mandatory in the institutions to be set up by foreign universities in the country.
Once approved by the Cabinet and passed as law, the Foreign Education Providers (Regulation) Bill will grant deemed university status to such institutions. The Cabinet approved a long pending bill to allow the setting up of foreign universities in India. Sources say approval for up to 200 foreign universities is pending. The universities include Yale, Harvard, Oxford, and Columbia University.
India may soon be the next major market for the global education industry as a proposal to allow foreign universities to open branches in the country was approved by cabinet. Currently majority of foreign educational providers in the country only offer vocational or technical studies or partner with local universities to be able to grant degrees. This is a milestone which will enhance choices, increase competition and benchmark quality in education.
The new bill may eventually put a dent on the number of Indian students going to Australian and British universities but also inversely increase business opportunities for foreign education providers wanting to tap into the huge and increasingly affluent Indian market. This new entry of foreign universities setting up institutions here in India may attract quality students and India will become a literate country soon by providing quality education to its citizens.