Modi govt’s offer to foreign universities to set up campuses in India not in national interest

The UGC has come out with regulations for it without the Centre even having a discussion on such an important issue in Parliament

The RSS-BJP government has become the shameless disciple of the neo-liberal concept of the knowledge industry
The RSS-BJP government has become the shameless disciple of the neo-liberal concept of the knowledge industry

Binoy Viswam

The 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' mould of the RSS-BJP has decided to open the country’s doors to foreign universities to “come, see and conquer” India.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has published the 'proposed regulations for establishing and running campuses of foreign higher education institutions' in the country. Now, any foreign university ranked within 500 in the world or any foreign higher education institution with good standing in home country may apply to the UGC for their entry to India.

The regulation notifies that there will be a clearance process of 90 days. After that such universities/ institutions can start their campuses in India. They will have the freedom to decide the content and structure of the education in their campuses. The fee structure, curriculum, syllabus, examinations and awarding of degrees will all be under the control of those foreign institutions.

Conspicuously, the social justice aspect of the Indian education system was completely neglected by the UGC and their political masters. There

is not a single word of reference to reservation. That concept itself is alien to those foreign universities.

The UGC respectfully decided to follow their suits even though reservation, an essential component of social justice is vital for Indian conditions. From this instance itself, the real intention of 'foreignisation' of Indian higher education is convincingly unveiled.

The government is setting the ground ready for the commercialisation of higher education.

The idea of foreign investment in Indian education can have far reaching ramifications. The philosophy of FDI based on greed for profit would undermine the basic structure of Indian education. That would be the case with fee structure and curriculum where ' Atmanirbhartha' of India is thrown to foreign whims. Still, the loyalists of RSS-BJP claim that this foreign intrusion is a feather in the crown of the 'viswaguru'.

In order to justify their surrender before the foreign universities, many of them have begun to propagate the backwardness of India in the field of education. It is interesting to see that the very same people who were preaching the glory of India in every field including education and knowledge have suddenly taken a U-turn to spread the red carpet for foreign universities.

Now they narrate the gradation reports of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) which is said to be the quality analyst in higher education.

Once they were boasting about the ancient universities of Nalanda and Thakshasila. Now they lament that in the ranking list of 150 global

universities, none from India could find a place. IIT Mumbai stands at 177, IIT Delhi 185, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 186.

Of course, it is a matter of concern for all those who love India. The reasons for this academic backwardness should be thoroughly explored and rectification measures taken urgently. But the Modi government's contention that foreign universities are the only panacea is deplorable.

Accumulating knowledge from any part of the globe and imparting education on a wider range are necessary and welcome. But surrendering before foreign greed and foreign universities cannot be the solution. Those advocates have to explain that how love for foreign universities would improve the standards of our IITs in Mumbai or Delhi. Collaboration with foreign universities and exchange of ideas, knowledge and human power has to take place in modern times.

No country can live in isolation. While paving the way for broad engagement with foreign universities and other establishments, the primary concern should be India's interests. Any collaboration with foreign countries would be beneficial for both sides.

The RSS-BJP government, intoxicated by big money through the FDI route, always forgets India's interests as it surrenders before foreign capital. Thus, affinity towards foreign universities is nothing new. The idea was mooted in the National Education Policy, 2020.

The adventurous experiment taking place in the field of higher education is an inevitable part of RSS-BJP's concept of growth. They want it to be driven by foreign investment. Their tall claim of national pride is only a myth when it comes to the question of foreign capital.

The RSS-BJP government has become the shameless disciple of the neo-liberal concept of the knowledge industry. In that industry, market and profits are the motivating factor.

The question before India on the 76th year of Independence is whether to surrender our national goals of sovereignty and self-reliance at the feet of foreign capital.

Every policy decision in all walks of life including education should be based on Indian conditions and priorities. When it comes to questions related to areas like education, a national debate is a must.

In this case, the UGC has come out with its regulations even without a name-sake discussion in Parliament.

It is quite natural that the teachers and student organisations have come out questioning the policy orientations of the government. They should be heard and properly consulted.

In a democracy, the people’s voice and Parliament are considered to be supreme. The RSS-BJP government has no right to bypass the people’s voice.

Universities are to be the centers of inquisitive wisdom and source of guidance for the future. They should not be allowed to be controlled by foreign universities and foreign capital.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines