U.S. Official Criticizes Indian Higher Ed Proposal

October 11, 2011

As officials and educators from the U.S. and India prepare to gather in Washington this week to discuss collaboration in higher education, a senior officials of the U.S. Commerce Department is criticizing a proposal in India that would allow foreign colleges to set up branch campuses there. Many American colleges and universities (and those from other countries) have been intrigued by the possibility of opening up in India, where demand for higher education far exceeds capacity. But Suresh Kumar, assistant secretary for trade promotion, told The Wall Street Journal that the proposals are seriously flawed. He noted provisions that would require that funds gained through tuition remain in India, and that would require quality to be comparable to main campuses even though the Indian government would be able to require very low tuition rates. "If you suddenly think you can get a Harvard M.B.A. degree in India for $20,000 – it’s just not going to work," he said. "You can’t impose a Western system in India. But India also can’t expect to have the Harvards come here under the current construct."

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