Education is a fundamental human right. It’s the bedrock of societies, economies, and every person’s potential. – Antonio Guterres, Secretary General, United Nations

New Delhi | The regulations for ‘Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India‘, released by the University Grants Commission (UGC) on 5 January 2023,  aim to facilitate the operations of the top 100 foreign universities in India. This regulatory framework is being seen as a welcome move by many stakeholders and held in healthy scepticism by others. A panel discussion on the topic ‘Evolving Higher Education: Setting up Foreign Universities in India’, involving key stakeholders,  was organized on the occasion of the International Day of Education by the Centre for Civil Society and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom South Asia.

The discussion saw insights from a myriad of perspectives in the sector – Mr Abhishek Ranjan, Innovation Officer at the Ministry of Education, Ms Swati Chawla, Associate Professor at OP Jindal Global University, and Ms Dyuti Pandya, an LLM student and coordinator of local students led the organization in India. Mr Ranjan opined that there was tremendous potential for growth in the higher education sector. At the same time, he acknowledged the progress made by the government to reform policies & make education more accessible. Both Ms Pandya & Ms Chawla shared their apprehensions on the implementation of the draft regulations while acknowledging the good step forward that has been taken. Mrs Lakshmi Sampath Goyal, CEO, of the Centre for Civil Society, was hopeful that it would be instrumental in bringing down the cost of higher education for students who aspire to study at international institutions. Mr Benjamin Pfrang, representing Germany’s Aachen RWTH University in India delivered the Keynote Address and highlighted the hopes and interests of numerous foreign Universities that would want to expand to an Indian audience.  The session also highlighted that with the import of international institutions, we also import the values these institutions represent. The panel discussion witnessed a healthy debate among panellists as well as insightful analyses of the employability, quality, access, and equity of higher education in India.

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