Sunday, September 15, 2013

Foreign Universities have to enter India with the help of the Chinese!!

The Ministry of HRD which regulates Universities through the University Grants Commission is now proposing to pass a set of regulations called the UGC (Establishment and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Educational Institutions) Rules to allow foreign Universities to set up campuses in India.

The twist in these rules comes in the stipulation that only the top 400 (why 400 and why not 100 or 350 or 500?) Universities as ranked by the Chinese body would be allowed in!!  I can understand the fascination that Indian have toward anything American and so it comes to me as a big surprise that these rules now stipulate the Chinese ranking.  So, any American University which wants to come into India should now be ranked by the Chinese before they can apply.  While the American themselves have embraced "Made in China" wholeheartedly, I wonder how these American Universities will react to the Indian dictat!!

Of course, the European ranking by Times and a for-profit entity called QS would also be considered.   But then, what happens if a University is ranked 400 by the Chinese and 401 by the Europeans!!

I believe that the Indian MHRD and the UGC have foregone a wonderful opportunity to set up their own ranking system to rank the world's Universities and then take the top 300 or 400 of them to allow them into India.  Once again the Indians have succumbed to the line of control drawn by the Chinese.

While the rules stipulate that foreign Universities should be in existence for at least 20 years before they can enter India, they have not specified how long they should have been ranked in the top 400 by the Chinese.  I wonder what will happen to the 400th University that is allowed into India after which it loses that ranking; will it be sent out of India?

 In the meanwhile, the waiting continues ...

Sankaran Raghunathan

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