India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development announced on Tuesday that it is advancing a proposal to permit foreign universities to open campuses under the Companies Act. The ministry's proposal to allow foreign universities to register as companies appears to represent an attempt to bypass Parliamentary approval of the long-stalled foreign universities bill, which faces stiff political opposition.
Under the proposed rules, foreign institutions wishing to set up campuses would have to be non-profit, accredited, and listed among the top 400 institutions in one of three major world university rankings. Each institution would have to maintain a corpus fund of at least 250,000,000 rupees, or almost $4 million.
At this point, Kevin Kinser, chair of the educational administration and policy studies department at the State University of New York at Albany, is skeptical that the proposal will become policy. “We’ve been down this road before,” said Kinser, who studies branch campuses. "There are announcements they are going to develop these policies to allow foreign universities to enter, but we haven’t really seen it come to fruition. I’m not going to be out there buying land or negotiating arrangements until something more concrete comes forward.”
“There are a lot of political interests involved in this,” Kinser added, “and it’s not entirely clear where the actual support comes from for moving in this direction, and whether that support has the political ability to withstand the resistance.”