Date: 19th June 2012
With the bill on the entry of foreign universities to India stuck in Parliament, the Centre is preparing to open the doors for them by exploiting Section 3 of the UGC Act, which would allow them to qualify as deemed institutions.
The Human Resource Development Ministry has set up a 10-member panel to “examine and make provisions” for allowing foreign institutions of higher education to function in India as ‘deemed to be institutions’.
Headed by P N Tandon, professor emeritus in the Department of Neurosurgery at AIIMS, the panel would hold broad-based consultations with stakeholders before submitting its report to the HRD ministry, source at the ministry said.
Section 3 of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act provides that the central government on the advice of the apex education body may declare any institution for higher education, other than a university, as a deemed university.
“The committee will review the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010, with reference to the objectives with which the regulations were notified.
Among other things, it will also see if the setting up of foreign institutions, who are ranked amongst the best in academia and intending to open campuses in India, can be allowed in the country under the Regulations,” sources said.
The country currently has no laws that would allow foreign universities to set up campus here, while The Foreign Educational Institutions (Entry and Operations) Bill, introduced by the HRD Ministry to plug the gap, seems unlikely to pass anytime soon after a Parliamentary Standing Committee recommended major changes to the proposed legislation.
Following suggestions from the HRD Ministry, the UGC reportedly explored ways of allowing foreign institutions to establish campuses in India under existing provisions, but the move was shelved when some members of parliament stressed the need for wider consultation.
The CPM bitterly criticised the move, saying it was in “contempt” of Parliament, which was already considering a bill on the subject.
Sources also mentioned that the panel, besides looking into the prospect of considering foreign institutions as deemed universities, will also examine UGC regulations of 2010 for any “anomalies or infirmities” in terms of any other rules, regulations or policies applicable to higher education sector and suggest suitable amendments.
It will also suggest measures to ensure independent quality assurances of institutions-deemed to be universities to reduce the need for inspection-based approval regimes.
“While the panel would hold broad-based consultation with all stakeholders, it will also consider public opinion on the issues referred to it for review,” sources said.