Foreign Varsity Campus A Distant Dream?
Business Today|November 01, 2020
Foreign Varsity Campus A Distant Dream?
NEP’s aim to bring top 100 global universities to India is too ambitious
MANU KAUSHIK

In THE MIDDLE OF the pandemic, the Central government came out with National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. Even though the policy was in the works for quite some time — five years to be precise — its release in late July received mixed response. On the one hand, it talks about adding 35 million seats and achieving the gross enrolment ratio of 50 per cent by 2035 in the higher education category. On the other, it paves the way for global institutions to set up operations in the country.

“High-performing Indian universities will be encouraged to set up campuses in other countries, and similarly, selected universities e.g., those from among the top 100 universities in the world will be facilitated to operate in India. A legislative framework aiding their 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,” according to the policy document.

Experts say while this is an enabling provision to attract top-league universities, there will be plenty of hurdles before these universities to set up base in the country. The biggest issues include unfavourable cost economics, lack of clarity on government support and potential apathy from students to enrol. “Allowing top foreign universities to set up a campus in India will not automatically bear results. Just look at the data. There are about 260 branch campuses started by educational institutes in foreign locations in 20 years. In five years alone, 50 new campuses have been set up outside of their home countries. In the Indian context, a good outcome could be 8-10 such campuses of foreign universities being set up over the next five years,” says Amitabh Jhingan, partner, EY-Parthenon, a strategy consultancy.

The Roadblocks

It seems that the math does not favour India when it comes to attracting global universities. For instance, the annual tuition fee and other costs of doing an MBA in Harvard Business School (HBS) is $111,818. For someone doing a two-year full-time programme, total expenses would be around $224,000. The median compensation package for the same course is $172,090.

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November 01, 2020