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Foreign universities getting non-profit status in India?


Over a month ago India’s human resource development ministry (HRD) made an announcement that foreign universities will be able to set up branch campuses as non-profit companies. Moreover the universities will be able to issue government recognised foreign degrees without any form of partnerships with the local higher education institution.


If this announcement becomes a law, higher education institution from all over the world will have easier access to India’s 1.2 billion population, almost a half of which are aged 25 and younger.


Some advisers believe that this law could change mobility out of India, however, the Indian government seems to make efforts to welcome foreign universities, including reducing the deposit necessary to establish a campus from $ 8,125,000 to $4,062,500.


Still parent branches will not be entitled to distribute profit from their Indian campuses to overseas parent branches or repatriate money


Whereas Europe and US keep an open mind and generally approve of the reform, in Canada educators are pausing for thought before taking India’s bait.


Husain F. Neemuchwala, Chief Executive Officer of Canada India Education Council (CIEC) told:  

“It’s positive in general but not a whole lot of Canadian institutions qualify for the top 400 requirement, right now there are some 12 schools that would tick all those boxes,”  “I have guarded optimism about the proposal, because it’s not easy to acquire land and the repatriation will also cause issues”


British Deputy High Commission added, “to work in India, universities have to know that there is a lot of bureaucracy that you have to overcome. They need to be ready for that.”


Local education in India has come under criticism for leaving its graduates poorly prepared for work – none of its institutions list in QS’s 2013/14 rankings. The question remains if the profits of Indian universities will suffer from a potential flood of foreign educators. Selvaratnam said that even if a university has a campus in India, there are still opportunities for joint research and staff student research.


47 million people are expected to be in the working age group in India by 2020 but India spends only 3.7% of its GDP on education. Thus the government is hoping foreign educators coming to India will meet the rising demand for quality education.



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