Foreign degrees in India soon

New Delhi, Nov 28 | Updated: Nov 29 2006, 09:07am hrs
A group of ministers on Tuesday cleared a draft legislation that proposes to allow foreign educational institutions to open campuses in the country. Once the Bill is enacted, Oxford, Harvard and Stanford can set up shop and offer global degrees in India.

There was general consensus in the GoM meeting today regarding the ingredients of the proposed Bill to facilitate foreign institutes to play a role in the Indian educational sector, commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath told the media on the sidelines of the India Economic Summit.

The Bill, Kamal Nath said, would not be tabled in the current session of Parliament. This would help bring back the huge talent of Indian teachers currently working abroad, he added.

The commerce ministry had earlier this year circulated consultation papers on the opening up of educational services. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently emphasised the need for an appropriate policy framework to meet the huge investments required in the sector.

Over 1.3 lakh students spend about $4 billion a year to study abroad. Foreign universities setting up campuses in the country would give students an option to stay back.

The human resources development ministry has, however, been opposing such moves. It wants preferential treatment to be extended to weaker sections even in foreign institutes and is keen that they adhere to the rules and regulations governing private institutions.

The commerce ministry is understood to have taken the view that such regulations would prevent foreign investment in this sector.