Internationalization of higher education

  • 23rd January, 2023

(MainsGS2:Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.)


  • Internationalization of higher education has been a cherished dream of foreign universities operating in India by providing conducive conditions and an enabling framework for such institutions. 
  • But the idea failed to come to fruition due to the concerns of the regulatory authorities and governments in India as well as the foreign higher educational institutions.

Problems faced by foreign universities:

  • Foreign universities are concerned about the potential adverse effect of setting up offshore campuses with their accreditation, ranking and reputation. 
  • Truly reputed higher educational institutions operate on a not-for-profit basis and have no materialistic motives to go offshore. 
  • A few countries that have such offshore campuses had to hard-sell the institutions the idea by leasing land at almost no cost, bearing the bulk of infrastructure cost and promising them the academic, administrative and financial autonomy that they enjoy in their home country.

Issues in India:

  • Promoting excellence, preventing malpractices, safeguarding the interests of students and protecting national interests have been some of the major concerns
  •  Many were wary of the cultural threat that this initiative posed and some of those who were at the forefront of preserving the purity of Indian culture are now a part of the political dispensation. 
  • Policy planners and regulators have been particularly concerned about how to come up with a framework that attracts the best of the best and deters the fly-by-night kinds of universities.

Get the idea going:

  • Past setbacks notwithstanding, the idea of having world-class universities establish and operate their campuses in India has been so compelling that the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 provided that “selected universities e.g., those from among the top 100 universities in the world will be facilitated to operate in India. 
  • A legislative framework facilitating such entry will be put in place, and such universities will be given special dispensation regarding regulatory, governance, and content norms on par with other autonomous institutions of India.” 
  • Even though the NEP favoured a “legislative framework”, the idea is being executed through a regulatory route by the University Grants Commission (UGC). 
  • There seems to be determination to get the idea going, even if it amounts to some dilution in standards.

Going abroad:

  • Students do not go abroad for degrees alone; they also go for the experience, post-study work visas, income opportunities and better career prospects. 
  • Most critically, as they are able to finance a good part of their education abroad through jobs, assistantships and scholarships, they find it more economical.
  • Further it was stated that foreign universities in India would stop the outflow of $28-30 billion in foreign exchange.


  • India needs to have an enabling framework for the entry and operation of foreign higher educational institutions to ensure that the best of the best set up their campuses in the country.

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