‘Educated in India’ brand
Even though, the Modi government is in favor of internationalization of Indian education to earn more foreign exchange and simultaneously create an “Educated in India” brand, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had opposed tooth and nail the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime’s effort to liberalize the higher education sector. Modi’s party had, in fact, stalled a 2010 bill introduced by the UPA in parliament to enable foreign universities set up campuses in India following National Knowledge Commission’s recommendation.
Unfortunately, the BJP failed to gauge the huge benefit that India’s predominantly young population can extract from a liberalized education sector. Since one of the world’s largest higher education systems is in India, preventing free flow of fund and ideas into India’s higher education setup is a regressive step that would harm the interest of India’s future generations ultimately. After all, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has repeatedly lamented the absence of any Indian university in the top 100 global list. Regrettably, not only no Indian institute of higher learning ranks among the top 100 global universities, India is also the only BRICS member state that has no representation in the 100 top-rated universities of the world. Why India, in spite of being a rising economic superpower is struggling to enhance her education standards to be rated, indisputably, among the top 10 or even top 50 or 100, wondered Mukherjee? Indeed, it is quite distressing that a nation possessing long-standing tradition of knowledge and having been a glorious seat of learning since ages finds itself in such a mess.
As Mukherjee rightly observed, “If we undertake an honest analysis of the state of higher education in our country today, it is evident many higher academic institutions lack the quality to produce graduates for the global market.” So, there is an urgent need to infuse a breath of fresh air within India’s stagnated higher education system to provide more options to the increasing number of Indian students traveling abroad for higher studies.
A recent study, titled “Skilling India: Empowering Indian Youth through World Class Education,” commissioned by the Associated Chambers of Commerce in India reveals that 0.68 million students left India due to dearth of quality higher education and increasing competition for limited seats available in existing institutions as against 0.29 million in 2013. Empirical data suggests that the number of Indian students going overseas for higher study grew by a whopping 256 percent between 2000 and 2009. Consequently, higher educational institutions are losing roughly $6-7 billion annually that these Indian students are spending on their higher education abroad and worse still, a minuscule number of them are choosing to return home thus resulting in huge brain drain.
And the Modi government believes that the UPA’s foreign education regulatory bill is that ray of light at the end of a rather dark tunnel, which can revolutionize higher education in India. Though, the BJP effectively blocked the previous attempt to provide students based in India with affordable and quality foreign education.
The total amount of foreign direct investments inflow into the education sector in India stood at $1,071.5 million from April 2000 to January 2015 and top-class foreign universities are anticipated to add prestige to India’s post-secondary education system, once the Modi government takes the much-awaited final plunge. However, merely opening up doors will not help attain the desired objective of making India a world-class education provider in Asia.
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