New Education Policy (NEP), 2020 made a significant change in the education arena when it paved the way for international institutions to establish campuses in the country. Many countries have been compelled by shifts in the world’s market economy to accept foreign sources in various ways. International Branch Campuses (IBCs) exemplify the notion of global education and provide a platform for innovation. Pranav Gupta Ashoka University Founder states, “Prior to the NEP, stringent government policy was the principal constraint on the capacity to collaborate creatively with Indian partners. If you look at the NEP from a wide perspective, it’s really just India waving its flag and declaring its intention to create one of the top higher education sectors in the world.”
India boasts one of the most extensive networks of higher education institutions in the world, with approximately 990 universities and 40,000 colleges. However, India’s Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education is just 26.3%, which is much lower than that of other BRICS nations like Brazil (50%) and China (51%) as well as significantly lower than that of North American and European countries (80% or more).
The NEP, 2020 emphasizes the establishment of a legal framework that will make it easier for foreign universities to expand their presence in India. These institutions will also receive special treatment with regard to regulations, governance and subject matter standards, putting them on equal level with other autonomous Indian institutions. The Cabinet-approved NEP is just the third significant reform to India’s educational structure since independence.
“The new policy introduces the four-year, interdisciplinary Bachelor’s degree with exit alternatives, which not only makes Indian higher education more accessible to international competitors but also represents a substantial change in undergraduate education’s structure. Ashoka University is a pioneer in fostering liberal education on par with the best accessible elsewhere in the world, and we are glad to see others joining the bandwagon with the new policy,” highlights Pranav Gupta Ashoka University Founder.
A survey by the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) revealed that top ranking institutions, five from America, one each from the UK, Australia and Canada, have expressed interest in establishing their IBCs in India. NEP’s legislative framework not only allows foreign universities to establish campus branches here, but also enables Indian institutions to set up campuses abroad and operate in partnership with foreign universities on research and student exchange initiatives.
The Indian government was encouraged to promote IBCs from foreign institutions due to globalization and rising global competition in higher education sector. Educators and administrators have long been deeply concerned about the exodus of many talented students to other countries for a variety of reasons, chiefly because of their inability to get admission to reputable institutions. “The introduction of IBCs would make it feasible for students in India to receive high-quality education. IBCs are anticipated to raise the bar for higher education and contribute to a gradual decline in the massive outflow of students wanting to pursue education overseas. Foreign universities may decide to establish IBCs as a cooperative venture with regional colleges and universities. Partnering with foreign institutions has several advantages, one of which is giving domestic universities and institutes the chance to integrate their curricula with global pedagogy,” asserts Pranav Gupta.
Nirmala Sitharaman, the Finance minister of India, emphasized in her budget speech (2021–22) the need for increased funding in order to recruit talented educators, foster innovation, and create better infrastructures. She also called for action to encourage Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and open the External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) path in order to bolster the investment pool for the education industry. According to a certain section of population in India NEP, 2020 with its new regulatory reform, including IBCs, will exacerbate social inequality by making education more expensive for those who are already financially disadvantaged. Another worry is that competent academics from nearby institutions would transfer to IBCs in search of higher pay.
“With this new regulatory change, some are feeling more optimistic about their ability to access high-quality education, whereas others contend that this would exacerbate inequality by elevating the expense of education and posing difficulties for regional institutes since foreign providers will unfairly corner the market. The proposed policy includes a balanced mix of benefits and drawbacks. This is a consequence of globalization, which entails intricate processes with several national and global trends. Although some of them are somewhat adversarial, conflicting, or oppositional, others are adherent and holistic,” concludes Pranav Gupta Ashoka University Founder.
Source – Silicon India