Global Universities See Opportunities in India’s New National Education Policy

Kegler Brown Global Business News

Smart Summary

  • India’s newly released National Education Plan seeks to make India a collaborative, cost-effective, international educational destination.
  • Once enacted, the NEP will likely be very favorable to U.S. colleges and universities eyeing India as a strategic educational market.
  • Developments include the establishment of new foreign student offices, increasing MOUs with foreign universities, and honoring credit hours earned outside of India.

India recently announced the enactment of its new National Education Policy (NEP), which is set to revamp the country’s educational system, particularly as it relates to global colleges and universities with operations in the subcontinent. The NEP is focused primarily on promoting India as a global education destination and positioning India as a market that provides premium education at affordable rates.

The most important takeaways from this announcement for colleges and universities operating in India or contemplating expansion into the market are outlined below.

  1. In order to help reinforce its role as a global education destination and “Vishwa Guru,” or “supreme teacher,” India is focusing on measures that will promote the country as providing premium education at affordable costs.
  2. India is creating an “International Students Office” at each Higher Education Institution (HEI), designed to host foreign students and coordinate all matters related to welcoming and supporting students arriving from abroad.
  3. An emphasis has been placed on forging research and teaching collaborations, facilitating faculty-student exchanges with high-quality institutions, and signing mutually beneficial MOUs with institutions outside of India.
  4. Credits acquired at foreign universities will be recognized, where appropriate and as per the requirements of each HEI, and may be counted toward the awarding of a degree.
  5. High-performing Indian institutions are being encouraged to establish campuses in other markets and so-called “Top 100” universities are being welcomed into create a presence in India by way of a new legislative framework that will provide special dispensations to foreign universities from a regulatory, governance and content standpoint.
  6. Although the current regulations do not explicitly permit foreign universities to set up physical campuses in India, certain education regulatory bodies, such as the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), will oversee aspects surrounding twinning arrangements and other collaborative programs from non-India colleges and universities. Regulatory reform on this issue is long awaited and welcomed, particularly where foreign HEIs are allowed to function independently without being subjected to stringent regulations applicable to Indian HEIs.

Clearly, the most important developments for colleges and universities looking to access the Indian education market as part of a global strategy will be items 3-6 above. There is still plenty of work to be done to operationalize and implement the NEP, which will require action by multiple bodies in a synchronized and systematic manner. Because education is a critical priority of the constitution, implementation of the policy will require careful planning and collaboration between the Central government and the states to bring to life aspirations enumerated in the policy.

The NEP does provide a great deal of hope and it is expected that the framework that is ultimately implemented will be very favorable to non-India HEIs, which will only serve to create opportunities for American universities with global strategies.

Licensed to practice law in India and the U.S., Vinita Mehra is a director and chair of Kegler Brown’s Global Education practice where she works closely with in-house counsel and other college and university leaders in devising, evaluating and implementing education strategies that build revenue and expand institutional brands globally. She can be reached at [email protected] or (614) 255-5508.