The National Education Policy (NEP 2020) seems to be a positive reform to the Education System after 34 years. It emphasizes on overall learning and goes beyond the confinement of education to the walls of the classroom. It shifts focus from the creation of job seekers to job providers.
Another reform it has introduced is the inclusion of top Foreign Universities to set up campuses in India. Thereby adding to the furtherance of quality Education. While also reversing the stance of the Government on the The Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill, 2010.
Dynamic Stance of the Government
Foreign Institutions or Universities were only allowed to collaborate with the Indian Universities through partnerships or projects. That is, according to the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill of 2010. The initial stance of the Government on the point of establishment of Foreign Universities in India was negative. This opinion was supported with the argument that the establishment of Foreign Universities would increase the cost of Education. That is, through a higher tuition fees and subsequent alienation of the population of students. In essence, approximately 37.4 million students.
Factors Against Establishment of Foreign Universities in India
Another condition required under Section 4(3)(b) of the former Bill was that any University or Institution that aspired to establish its campus in India, must be required to maintain a corpus fund of not less than 50 Crore Rupees, or of such sum as may be notified, from time to time, by the Central Government in consultation with the statutory authority.
All the mentioned provisions and the predominantly skeptical stance of the Central Government towards the establishment of Foreign Universities and Institutions kept them from establishing their campuses in the country. Additionally, the condition of the maintenance of the Corpus Fund added to the already existing disincentives for the Foreign Universities.
Establishment of Foreign Universities in India under the NEP 2020
The initial stance of the Government stands reversed through the National Education Policy (NEP). Thus, foreign universities will receive special dispensation regarding regulatory, governance and content norms along with other autonomous education institutions in India. As a result, they can now operate as well as set up campuses in India, removing the previous barriers to higher education.
NEP 2020 – Issues of Contention
The New Policy can have various implications on the future of education in India. The measures introduced aim at bringing a systematic change in the system, thus amending the existing pedagogical structure.
What the establishment of Foreign Universities and Educational Institutions could mean for the future is higher quality of education to a larger section of population; to whom studying in a Foreign University might be a distant dream. It might lead to saving up on a large amount of fees as it wouldn’t be calculated in a foreign currency, rather the domestic rupee.
It would also help save a huge amount of money due to less distance, as travelling internationally can be criminally expensive. But this still does not ensure affordability considering the prodigious size of population, most of them below the poverty line. Even though it might provide some relief through increased accessibility even with less movement; yet it is difficult to ascertain whether they would be accessible to the general student population. Scholarships and financial aid could help in increasing affordability.
Another challenge that this provision poses is the competition to be faced by the existing private and government educational institutions. Given an option to choose between studying in a Private Indian University or a Foreign University, the answer by many would be the latter. Not just the brand name, but there are numerous factors that contribute to the same. Specialization in their subject matter is one of them. For example, a law student wanting to pursue Masters in law (LLM) would choose to go the foreign university established in India, if it offers a subject of specialization of his choice.
The choice seems to be easy considering the fact that foreign universities, in some cases, provide a more practical and more specialized education. Also, it is imperative to note that the pool of students automatically becomes more diverse when it comes to a foreign university, and even more competitive in some cases.
Potential Aftermath of NEP 2020
These might be some of the challenges that the NEP may pose in the near future, but what is imperative to be seen is the way in which these problems are dealt with. The National Education Policy was a much needed reform. It took as long as 34 years to be brought into action. Although it seems very promising in theory, it might have some drawbacks or future implications. Just like every other policy. What is left to be seen is its implication in the Education System of the country. Any other conclusion as to whether it is a good or a bad policy, would be nothing but mere speculation.