Plan to let in foreign universities On Hold

The Union government is putting its plan to allow foreign universities to operate in India on the back burner. It is noteworthy here that the same was being pursued for last several years. The centre will now instead focus on its world-class university plan. The move fits in with the central government’s India-first approach across sectors.


“We are not looking at that plan (to allow foreign universities to operate here). There is no work happening on that; instead the government will give more thrust to the domestic world-class university plan,” a top human resource development ministry official informed on condition of anonymity.

As part of the foreign university plan, the human resources development ministry wanted to allow foreign universities into the country. Here they could operate and offer degrees independent of the existing regulatory regime. Issues related to the repatriation of money they earned had to be thrashed out, though.

“Pursuing the foreign university plan does not make much sense. This is because now the Union cabinet has already cleared the institutions of eminence (earlier called world-class university) plan,” a second official said.

“The formal rules for our institutions of eminence plan will be out and 20—10 private and 10 public—institutions will be encouraged through enabling regulatory and financial provisions to be counted as the best in the world,” the official added.


As per a ministry note on the institutions of eminence, Indian students will get education comparable to that offered by top-ranked universities of the world. It says, the institutions of eminence will face “minimal interference from authorities, (have) freedom to recruit foreign faculty, (and) autonomy to admit additional foreign students up to 30% of the domestic students admitted”.

As per data records, the foreign universities plan anyway did not attract any interest from top universities such as Oxford, Harvard or Yale.

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