Chennai: With the University Grants Commission (UGC) unveiling norms for setting up foreign universities in the country, the academics from Tamil Nadu have raised concern on the level playing field vis-a-vis other private universities and foreign entities.
A major concern raised by academics is whether these foreign universities would abide by the norms set by the UGC including fee structure, exam patterns, and even course structure. The UGC draft states that foreign universities will be given autonomy to decide on the fee structure, admission procedures, and course structure.
Another major worry for private universities and academics is that foreign universities are allowed to repatriate their funds to their parent campuses. The private universities in India are required to reinvest the surplus funds.
Dr Mohan Krishnan, a senior administrative officer with a private university in Chennai, while speaking to IANS said: “The UGC draft regulations states that the foreign universities will be able to repatriate the funds collected as fee back to their parent universities in their respective countries while Indian universities will have to reinvest surplus funds here itself.”
He also said that instead of improving infrastructure and providing quality education, most of the foreign universities will set up their campuses in India with a single-point agenda or repatriating profits to their countries and this will not do any good to quality higher education in India.
Dr E. Balaguruswamy , former Vice Chancellor of Anna University while speaking to media persons said that the UGC’s move would affect higher education in the country a few years from now. He said that even the elite Indian universities are in the top 200 globally and hence it is better to improve the quality of Indian universities rather than providing a red carpet welcome to foreign universities.
The main apprehension raised by academics is the lack of control over these foreign universities and how they would formulate the course structure, and that in the guise of giving a foreign degree, they would charge exorbitant fee.
Dr G. Padmanabhan, Director, Socio-Economic Development Foundation, a think tank based out of Madurai, while speaking to IANS said: “Opening campuses of foreign universities in our soil has to be finalised after taking into account all the possibilities. These universities must not be allowed to do according to their wish and the students and their parents must not suffer money-wise and quality-wise. We have to at least ensure that our students are getting quality education at a decent fee. I mean to say that foreign universities must not be allowed to charge exorbitantly.”