Nod to foreign tech schools

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By BASANT KUMAR MOHANTY
  • Published 18.02.11
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New Delhi, Feb. 17: India’s technical education regulator has come up with a policy that allows foreign institutions to set up campuses anywhere in the country even before a law to allow them entry has been enacted.

The new AICTE provisions, however, pack stiffer conditions that include registration as not-for-profit organisations and deny foreign institutes permission to offer their own degrees.

The new norms, which replace a 2003 policy, come at a time a proposed law on entry of foreign education providers is pending with a parliamentary committee.

Under the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation and Entry and Operations) Bill, 2010 — which the government introduced in the Lok Sabha last May — foreign institutes can offer their own degrees.

They also don’t need to register as a society or a trust or Section 25 company as the revised AICTE policy mandates.

Although the foreign education law is yet to be enacted, sources said the revised AICTE norms would allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India.

“The revised policy gives a roadmap for enhancing collaboration between Indian and foreign institutions in teaching and research. It also lays down guidelines for foreign institutions to set up campuses in India. Foreign institutions can set up campuses after being registered as a society or trust or a Section 25 company,” a top source in the All India Council for Technical Education told The Telegraph.

Societies, trusts and companies registered under Section 25 of the Company’s Act, 1956, are not-for-profit institutions. They can generate surplus from education activities but have to plough back the profit for the growth of the institution.

After being registered as a society or trust or a Section 25 company, a foreign institution will have to submit a detailed proposal for approval from the AICTE to run a course. The institute needs to have the required land in its lawful possession before applying.

Another condition is foreign institutes have to be affiliated to an Indian university and offer degrees of the university they are affiliated to.

Under the proposed foreign education bill, foreign institutes will not have to get affiliated to any Indian university and can offer their own courses.

An AICTE official said the revised norms were too tough. “It may not be easy for a foreign educational institute to get registered as a society, trust or a Section 25 company. The foreign ministry will have to allow the foreign institutes to be registered as a society, trust or a Section 25 company.”

Asked about the revised policy, George Joseph, assistant secretary for international affairs at Yale University, said it was not immediately relevant to the US institute. “Yale has no plans to open a campus or to offer degrees in India. As such, the policy is not immediately relevant to our institution,” he said in an email.

An AICTE official said the new norms were clearer than the 2003 policy, which said foreign institutes could operate and collaborate with Indian institutes but did not clarify how. “The original policy did not have clarity on many things, including eligibility of institutions for such partnerships. That is why the response from foreign institutions for collaboration has been poor.”