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July 15, 2010

India Education Bill to Open the Country to Foreign Investment

India Education Bill to Open the Country to Foreign Investment

Recently, a Hindustan Times article reported on the passage of India's foreign education investment bill, which would build bridges between two of the world's strongest economies.

According to the article, India will possess the world's largest work force by 2020, during which it will have an additional 47 million workers. The United States Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake is quoted in the article as saying:

"These legions of Indians entering the workforce for the first time represent an immense economic opportunity for India and its partners - but only if they receive the education and training they will need to compete in India's globalising economy."

This is the second time that a foreign education bill has been put up to the parliament for ratification. The last time was in 2007, at a time when there was too much opposition by Left parties, which had strong government clout, according to an Economic Times article published in March. The Foreign Educational Institutions Bill, as it is officially called, will enable foreign universities to invest in education in India, and it will also help in regulating the entry, operation, and maintenance of quality of assurance and prevention of commercialization by foreign institutions of higher education. In addition, the bill will protect Indian students from educational scams.

In late 2009, Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal met with several university presidents as well as representatives from prestigious foreign universities like Yale, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, and others.

Although as of yet, no foreign universities have committed to setting up campuses on Indian soil, several institutions of higher education have reaffirmed their intention to either establish partnerships with existing Indian universities, or to further strengthen those partnerships that are already in existence.

According to a Business Standard article, of these collaborations between foreign and Indian university campuses, the largest portion of them--about one-fourth-- are in business management and administration, while about 22 percent of these programs focus on information technology. Following closely behind IT are hospitality related programs, representing 20 percent of all foreign education partnerships in India.

Many hope that the passage of the bill will help in putting a halt to the mass flux of Indian talent abroad; the bill also endeavors to attract more foreign students to India itself. Whatever the effective outcomes of the current foreign education bill, Indian students can rest assured that India's system of higher education will only continue to improve with the passage of time.

This is a guest post by Alvina Lopez, who regularly writes for the blog accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com.

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