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NEW DELHI(PTI): The Hinduja Group on Friday pushed for a legislation to allow top foreign universities to operate out of India to help provide world-class education in the country.
Industrialist GP Hinduja, co-chairman of the Hinduja group, in a letter to Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani in this regard said there is a need for enhancing the quality of higher education in the country through the participation of internationally reputed universities and institutions.
Hinduja’s comments assume significance since no Indian university figures among the top 100 globally. The Hinduja group run a number of educational institutions. In his letter, Hinduja said government should seek private sector support for upgrading Indian universities to world class institutions.
He said a need has been felt to bring in legislation to allow “credible and highly ranked” foreign universities and institutions to bring in their academic and research culture into the Indian education system.
Government must explore all viable options to create an enabling environment for this to happen, he said in his letter.
Hinduja said this must be done since there is interest from foreign universities who sense the demand and the potential and that there is equal interest from reputable business houses of India to contribute to the Indian higher education system through such meaningful collaborations.
“The Hinduja group has been approached by several prestigious educational institutions for working together here. We are willing to do so, but a policy framework is needed for foreign institutions to operate,” he said. Emphasising on the need for changes in the policy framework, Hinduja said the legislation by the previous UPA government to allow foreign universities to operate out of the country was not even discussed in Parliament before it lapsed.
The Foreign Educational Institutions(Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill, 2010 introduced during the tenure of the then HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has lapsed with the end of the 15th Lok Sabha last year.
With increasing numbers of students aspiring for quality higher education there is great scope for enhancing quality capacity through foreign participation either directly or through collaborations, Hinduja said.
He said the private sector which has been an active player in enhancing capacity in higher education may have the resources and the flexibility to do it but however it is constrained by the lack of the overall academic culture as portended by universities abroad.
“We have been boasting about the Nalanda and Takshshila universities. But, today, we don’t have any that will even come in the list of top 100 universities in the world. To improve the quality of education we need to collaborate with foreign institutions,” he told reporters.
He said necessary policy changes should be made by the Narendra Modi government to enable foreign institutions to function here directly or in collaboration with domestic universities.