Saturday, November 07, 2009

U.S. universities interested in India

Top drawer American universities have expressed their keeness to participate in higher education in India, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said, referring to the Foreign Education Providers’ Bill. But this is being perceived more as a bid by the HRD Minister to create the appropriate political environment to push through the draft law in a hurry at home.

Keen as the minister may want to appear, US universities are guarded on the nature of their involvement. Yale President Richard C. Levin said “No decisions have been taken yet. There is new encouragement for partnerships, but these are as of now dimly conceived ideas. Our preferred mode is that of partnership. This tends for work best for Yale. You can’t replicate a 300-year-old university in a remote location.”

However, Mr. Sibal maintained, “It was a successful trip to the US. The American institutions have shown great interest in opening of the education sector in India.” Last week, Mr. Sibal led a delegation to the US and met the functionaries of leading universities.

The legislation, once passed, would permit foreign education providers to operate in India. This would make it possible for US universities to set up campuses either in partnership with Indian institutes or on their own. It is viewed as an important development in the education sector.

Mr. Sibal held meetings with functionaries of Harvard, Yale, MIT and Boston University among others. He told them that while opening campuses, the foreign universities should not aim at making profit from the tuition and other fees related to imparting of the courses.

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