By Ganesh Bhatt
New Delhi, Apr 2 (IANS): Higher education of the country is set to take a giant leap as for the first time, foreign universities will be able to set up their campuses in India.
Higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) has made rules to allow foreign universities to enter the country.
According to the Union Education Ministry, these regulations will be implemented within the next one month.
The Education Ministry will take advice from the Reserve Bank of India on these regulations and legal opinion will also be taken on several important aspects before implementing the guidelines for foreign universities.
Universities in some countries like the US, England, France, Australia, Italy, Malaysia Canada have shown a 'keen interest' in setting up campuses in India.
These universities will have the freedom to devise their own admission process and fee structure.
There will be no interference in academic and other day-to-day activities in the campuses of foreign universities.
However, the Indian regulatory bodies will ensure that the foreign universities function within the stipulated norms.
UGC Chairperson M. Jagadesh Kumar said: "The draft related to setting up and operation of campuses of foreign universities in India will be implemented in the beginning of May.
Kumar said the draft has received positive feedbacks from several foreign universities and embassies and the UGC is in the final stage of consolidating these suggestions.
He said that the UGC will consult the Reserve Bank of India in this regard and will also take legal opinion before announcing the guidelines.
Till date, 49 foreign higher education institutions are collaborating with Indian higher education institutions.
UGC has also contacted ambassadors and heads of missions of about 66 countries whose universities are eligible for collaboration. These include the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, Singapore, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Malaysia, etc.
Meetings were organised with select American universities in collaboration with the Indian Mission and German universities in collaboration with The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
According to the UGC, many of the suggestions received so far are from universities in Europe and North America.
Several embassies have also approached us with their queries and suggestions, UGC Chairperson said.
According to the UGC, these rules are based on the National Education Policy for Internationalisation of Higher Education in India.
The draft states that the move is intended to promote academic collaboration between Indian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and foreign HEIs.
According to the UGC, this important step will help Indian students to develop collaborative research and educational activities with foreign students.
There are several Indian academicians in foreign universities. They can come to India to teach in the universities and this will improve the overall standard of higher education in the country.
The UGC will reach out to the embassies and foreign universities with the revised draft before any final announcement.
The draft prepared by UGC states that no foreign university will be able to set up its campus in India without UGC's approval and the universities that are placed in the top 500 global rankings can apply to enter India.
The universities of the US, England, France, Australia and Italy have expressed their interest to open campuses in the country. It is expected that once the provision is in place, foreign universities with global rankings will come forward with applications to set up campuses.
The new move will allow Indian students to acquire foreign qualifications at affordable cost and make the country an attractive global study destination.