Foreign Universities in India: Collaborate and Get Future Ready

BBC quoted me on a story on interest of foreign universities in India. Also, the Chronicle of Higher Education quoted me from the two sessions I co-presented at the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) annual conference in San Francisco. The sessions were entitled as–1) Demystifying India’s Foreign Universities Bill: Opportunities & Challenges and 2) Higher Ed in America, China and India: the “New Normal” across the Pacific. Overall, it was an excellent conference, attended by more than 700 leaders in international higher education.

One of the key messages I conveyed was that foreign universities bill had been under discussion for more than five years and politics of Indian higher education has made it ineffective and irrelevant. The stringent requirements of foreign universities bill are similar to a life guard who instead of providing confidence and support is simply not allowing any tourists to swim. However, one way to circumvent the requirements is to get a “guest invitation” from the member. This is precisely how various forms of existing collaborations between foreign and Indian universities are evolving–by circumventing the requirements. For example, Lancaster University has partnered with GD Goenka to offer Lancaster’s degree in India. While, this is a high quality offering and exemplifies Lancaster’s entrepreneurial approach of not waiting for foreign universities bill, there are many more poor quality institutions are ignoring regulatory requirements.

Today, I saw two additional developments related to AICTE and foreign education institutions:
1) AICTE has issued show-cause notices to foreign institutions including Leeds Met India, Bhopal and Centum Learning, Delhi, University of London.

2) AICTE issued a notification for allowing foreign universities to register as not-for-profit organisations and affiliate with Indian universities to offer Indian degree and not foreign degree.

The ugly truth of the proposed foreign university bill is that many good universities will continue to face incoherence, risk and uncertainty, while poor quality institutions will continue to ignore regulatory requirements. The Tri Valley University situation has given more ammunition to opponents to ask for even stricter norms. Even if it gets passed, it is yet to be seen how many takers will be there.

On the one hand, Indian regulatory environment is slow and incoherent and on the other hand, the opportunity for foreign universities in India is immense. This calls for entrepreneurial but cautious engagement with India. This could be low-intensity collaborative research project to high-involvement joint-degree program, however, the key is to start the engagement so that one is future ready.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha


  1. I entirely agree with your opinion. Private education generates black money & also an engine of money laundering in India. Therefore the 'political industry'would not allow fair competition in India. Opening up of education sector would make Indian students more intelligent & employable which is against our ancient beliefs.

  2. That previous comment is kind of funny to me. How are you Rahul? I like this post. If you would ever like to share your thoughts with me in an interview, I am eager to talk to you soon!

  3. Apt comments have been given by Gurinder Ahluwalia. I loved the 'ancient beliefs' part 🙂

  4. Prestigous foreign universities will be welcome in India. But teaching shops from sub-standard foreign universities should be discouraged to come to India through some kind of fair and transparent acreditation process. Any university coming to India should at par or at a higher level than any IIT or IIM. Please stop exploiting our foreign-crazy vulnerable youth. We are not closing door to any good university. Come please. It will propel us towards a healthy competition and globalization of higher education. And please don't give us any sermons, what is good and what is bad for India. We know it. India is awakened already.

  5. Please advise if an American University can grant Master's and Doctoral degrees in India through a Private Institution under and MOU between the two.

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