The Foreign Education Providers (Regulation for Entry and Operation) Bill that would have enabled Ivy League institutes to set up centres in India and thereby bring in tough competition in the higher education sector, is learnt to have been shelved by the UPA Government.
The Bill sought to regulate the entry and operations of foreign education providers and envisaged giving them deemed university status. While the legislation has been hanging fire for three years now, hopes for its passage had been revived after the Left parties, vehemently opposed to allowing foreign institutes to set up centres in the country, withdrew from the UPA in July 2008. After the trust vote, HRD Minister Arjun Singh had even confirmed that the Bill would be introduced in Parliament at the earliest possible date.
However, with the last Parliament session of the present Government in the offing, it looks like the Bill is once again doomed to oblivion.
“The Bill will not be taken to Parliament now. There was no consensus on the Bill. It is on the backburner,” said a top Government official.
The National Knowledge Commission, the high profile PM backed panel, had also called for liberalising policies to allow foreign universities to set up centres in the country to create a more competitive educational environment and thereby bring about qualitative changes in the existing Indian university system.
The Left parties, however, had alleged that this would amount to increasing privatisation of education.
CPM leader Brinda Karat had earlier written to Singh saying, “In the ongoing negotiations in the WTO, there is tremendous pressure from the developed countries to put higher education under General Agreement on Trade in Services....The foreign universities will actually permit such an opening up, pre-empting even the WTO discussions.”