Indian Decade

Education Revolution

A new bill could transform higher education in India, and give a boost to teachers.

The Cabinet cleared the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill yesterday, and if passed in Parliament (which is likely to happen) the move will allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India.

The bill has been held up for more than four years, mainly because of opposition from Left Parties. Kapil Sibal, the Union Minister for Human Resources Development, has shown a genuine zeal over the last year that he’s been in office for completely revamping Indian education, an intensely critical need for a country with such a vast population of young people, and a growing economy that needs them to be equipped with the right skills.

Sibal says this bill will unleash a revolution even bigger than the telecom revolution, with top universities of the world setting up campuses here. While the bill says the foreign university campuses will be free from state restrictions in terms of adhering to fees or conforming to affirmative action quotas, they’ll be strictly audited to ensure they aren’t ‘being run merely for profits,’ said Sibal.

This all makes sense—to me, at least. It offers a huge range of options for our students, many of whom might not have to go abroad and take out huge loans to pay for a foreign education. And our standards of teaching will improve because finally our teachers will get paid what they deserve. Teaching has for too long been relegated to the status of a worthless profession in India, and an education system that does that to its teachers is unlikely to ever truly flourish. Setting up of these campuses can also help India become a hub for education with many students from neighboring countries choosing to come here to study.