Govt to meet university challenge

Written by Mukesh Ranjan | New Delhi, Sep 12 | Updated: Sep 13 2007, 08:27am hrs
Ivy League universities may not have arrived in India yet, but leading Indian universities may soon set up branch campuses of foreign universities, according to a plan being fine-tuned by the government to make the best of higher education more widely available. The blueprint includes tie-ups between leading universities like those in Delhi and Mumbai, as well as the IITs, with their counterparts overseas.

Top government sources say this successful Chinese model should pass muster with those lobbying against the opening up of higher education to FDI (read: Left parties), even though the Centre allows it. Partnerships with institutions abroad deserve serious consideration, one source told FE. Significantly, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, the governments key interlocutor with the Left, has endorsed the proposals.

The proposed package also aims to do away with competitive exams like NET for fast-track recruitment of teachers on the basis of qualifications and merit obtained in college education. It also plans to convert at least ten universities into world-class institutions offering branch campuses and training programmes leading to dual degrees. The ministerial group working on higher education is currently debating the proposals.

The government is also working to evolve a policy framework to facilitate greater flow of private investment in higher education. These include the removal of entry barriers and simplified procedures.