British sector urged not to wait for the bill to be passed by India

By Anusha

British sector need not wait for a yes from India

Universities in UK have been asked to go ahead and start working with Institutions in India to aid them with teaching and research skills instead of waiting for the resolution regarding the legal situation around foreign campuses, argues a report from British Council.

Intended in 2010 to manage foreign universities in India, the Foreign Education Providers bill is "unlikely to be passed in the short to medium term", Engaging with India: The future of higher education and opportunities for international cooperation says.

Released on 13th February, the report has over 50 interviews with Indian academics, policymakers and leaders of the universities, who were asked about the ways they would like to associate with UK.

Their highest priority dealt with improving teaching and learning skills, while associating with the universities of UK. "Institutions in India want partners which will send students and faculty to India; there is less interest in, and deep frustration over, the one-way movement of students to the UK," the report says.

The reports say that the top-tier Indian universities, like Indian Institutes of Technology, are not deprived of resources. But the budgets for research are often underspent due to "a lack of good quality research proposals, so here international collaboration can help".

The report says by 2020, India aims to increase university places by 40 million, during which it will have a larger tertiary education age population in comparison with China.

It adds that the government reforms and the demand for higher education in India present the "largest opportunity for international higher education institutions and education businesses in the world".

In September last year, the Indian government declared that international universities will be allowed to set up campuses and provide degrees, despite legislative deadlock over the Foreign Education Providers bill.

However, these frontiers cannot be profitable. Universities that feature in the top 400 of one of the major global university rankings must set them up. If a student wants to apply for a government job, then their degrees must be recognised separately.

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