India has an ambitious target of providing higher education to 40 million students by 2020. And to achieve the goal it should allow foreign universities to operate in the country — either through partnerships or letting them open their own campuses, says the vice chancellor of an Australian university.
But the environment around and the structure of India’s education system is challenging amid tight regulations even as reforms planned in the sector are exciting for international institutions and education businesses.
India has set an aggressive target of achieving 30% gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education by 2020. GER is the total enrolment in higher education among the population in the age group of 18-23.
According to the ministry of human resource development, India’s GER was 24.5% in 2015-16, a quantum jump over the last decade when it was a mere 10% in 2004-05. But the enrolment ratio is still low compared to China’s 26% and Brazil’s 36%.
To achieve the 2020 target and allow more and more young men and women access to higher education, Jacobs said, his university was ready “to contribute and create opportunities for new jobs and play a role in opening up the young people’s eyes to the opportunities for their life.
UNSW’s pro vice chancellor Laurie Pearcey said the Indian government’s Institutions of Eminence or the 10+10 initiative — to give 10 public and 10 private institutions unprecedented administrative and financial autonomy — has thrown up possibilities for partnering with foreign universities.
The proposed Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill that seeks to permit foreign players into the higher education system could make things better for the country.