Draft Norms Announced by UGC for Foreign Universities - The Hindu - 10/01/23

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced draft norms for facilitating foreign universities and educational institutions to set up campuses in India which allow them autonomy in decision making.
->Draft Norms Announced by the UGC:
i. Sets Criteria: A foreign university with a rank among the top 500 global rankings or a foreign educational institution of repute in home jurisdiction can apply to the UGC to set up a campus in India.
ii. Application Process: The application will be considered by a standing committee appointed by the UGC which will submit its recommendations within 45 days after examining the institution’s credibility, programmes offered, their potential.
iii. Mode of Teaching: It will also have autonomy to recruit faculty and staff from India and abroad. The courses to be offered cannot be in online and open and distance learning mode.
iv. Fund Management: Foreign universities will be allowed to repatriate funds to parent campuses. Cross-border movement of funds and maintenance of Foreign Currency Accounts, mode of payments, remittance, repatriation, and sale of proceeds, if any, will be as per the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999 and its Rules.

->Significance of the Move:
-Nearly 13 lakh students were studying abroad in 2022 according to the Ministry of External Affairs data; and as per the RBI, Rs 5 billion was lost in foreign exchange due to students going overseas in FY 2021-2022
-Allowing foreign universities to set-up campuses in India will also ensure that all our students — there are around 40 million pursuing higher education — have access to global quality education.
-The ideal of setting up foreign universities’ campuses in India is also mentioned in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

-It is believed that the social justice concerns have been ignored which is very important in our context where higher education is very effective means for social change.
-Draft regulations have no provisions for caste-based/economic-based/minority-based/armed forces-based/Divyang-based/Kashmiri migrants/representation-based/women reservation in student admissions.
-Section of educational practitioners has expressed reservations about allowing international universities to operate in India as it would raise the cost of education, rendering it out of reach for a large part of the population.

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