Foreign Education Bill: A Backdoor Entry push by MHRD

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Due to an increasing delay and uncertainty in passing of the much ambitious Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill, 2010, the Human Resource Development Ministry (MHRD) is now trying for a backdoor entry to foreign institutions. MHRD has already asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) to identify possibilities within the existing laws of regulating and allowing the foreign educational institutions. The possible ways of going about it are allowing these institutions to enter into a category of deemed universities under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or as private universities under the State laws.

Along with all this, the UGC is also drafting regulations on twinning programmes and joint degree programmes between the foreign and Indian educational institutions. The issue is most likely to be discussed at a special meeting of the Commission scheduled for June 2, 2012. It is worthwhile to be note here that the proposal to allow foreign institutions as deemed universities or private universities under the State laws was also mooted by Arjun Singh when he was the HRD Minister, but the plan was put on hold.

The Commission’s meeting which was scheduled for 21st July, was re-scheduled and advanced to 2nd June, without any circulation of the agenda. Normally, the agenda is mailed to the members at least a week in advance. But as per the sources this time the members were orally told that an important issue on the entry of foreign institutions to India was to be discussed urgently.The meeting is likely to witness hot talks as many Commission members will oppose the proposal on the ground that they were not consulted. The Bill was tabled in Parliament in May 2010, after it met with resistance from the Left and the Bharatiya Janata Party during the United Progressive Alliance’s first term in office. It was subsequently sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, which submitted its report in the monsoon session of Parliament, recommending major changes.