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Foreign varsities show no interest in India campus

Yale,on the other hand,said categorically that it has no plans for a physical presence in India.

Written by Anubhuti Vishnoi | New Delhi |
September 22, 2013 3:09:01 am

Top 30 global universities,including Yale,Cambridge,MIT and Stanford,have not shown any interest in the government’s renewed efforts to invite foreign universities to set up campuses in India.

While the union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry recently announced that it is set to open doors to 400 top foreign universities by registering them as companies under Section 25 of the Companies Act,1956,the move hardly seems to have enthused global academic leaders.

Cambridge University vice-chancellor Professor Leszek Borysiewicz said while the UGC (Establishment and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Educational Institutions) Rules was “an interesting development which marks a growing trend towards trans-national education”,the university preferred “collaboration” over “competition”.

“Our own approach to global partnerships is that there is such quality,excellence and potential in the Indian higher education sector that Cambridge wishes to collaborate rather than compete,to be a partner rather than a rival. We already have multiple research collaborations in place with institutions such as JNU,the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI),IIT-Bombay and IISC- Bangalore and many others. We are looking to increase these and to promote two-way exchanges of students and faculty to mutual benefit,” the vice-chancellor said over e-mail.

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Yale,on the other hand,said categorically that it has no plans for a physical presence in India. “The changes in India’s policies regarding foreign education providers and the awarding of foreign degrees in India have no impact on Yale. Yale University has no plans nor is it considering plans to establish an overseas campus in India or anywhere else in the world. The only campus at which a student can earn a Yale degree is in New Haven,” George Joseph,director for international relations and leadership programmes in Yale’s Office of International Affairs,said over e-mail.

Stanford University echoed the same line,adding that they have taken an “institutional decision” to not set up a campus anywhere else and have accordingly not even evaluated the Indian proposal.

“At this time,Stanford University does not intend to open any additional campuses within the US or abroad,in India or elsewhere. This is an institutional decision and not related to any actions taken by the Indian government,” Lisa Lapin,associate vice-president,University Communications,Stanford University,explained.

Like Cambridge,MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) said that they preferred partnership instead. “MIT’s approach to international engagement is based on collaboration and local capacity building,so this policy does not change how we work with our colleagues,friends and alumni in India. Because we prefer the partnership model,we do not establish branch campuses that would operate independently,” MIT vice-president Claude Canizares said.

President of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) simply e-mailed back saying “Caltech will not be able to participate”.

Similar sentiments were echoed by almost all universities contacted. Johns Hopkins University said that while it does have a number of research projects active in India,particularly in public health,they have no plans to establish a campus in the country.

University of Toronto emphasised its interest in developing relationships with Indian institutions. Northwestern University’s President Morton Schapiro’s office said that while the development was “very interesting” and they were interested in educational opportunities in India,more information would be needed to ascertain what this will actually mean.

While Duke University is said to have earlier evinced interest in setting up a campus in India,it seems to have dropped all such plans now. “Duke University has a longstanding interest in India,and indeed we have a number of programmes and partnerships in areas such as business,medicine,the environment and gifted and talented youth education,but we have no plans to establish a campus or university in the country,” Mike Schoenfeld,vice-president for Public Affairs and Government Relations,Duke University,shared in an emailed response.

The University of Edinburgh said it has “no plans at this time to open a campus in India or elsewhere in the world. We do welcome any moves to increase cooperation between universities in the UK and India”.

The University of Bristol,on the other hand,offered some consolation,terming the Indian government’s move “an encouraging sign” that they will be monitoring closely.

Drawing foreign universities to India has been a dream project of the UPA government. It has been working on it for eight-nine years,through three HRD ministers,but without much luck.

The much-debated Foreign Education Providers Bill has gone through UPA 1 and UPA 2 without clearing Parliament. The Pallam Raju-led HRD Ministry has been making efforts over the past few months to find non-legislative routes to facilitate entry and collaboration with foreign varsities.

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