Higher Education

JNU VC skeptical on entry of Foreign Institutions in India

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The recently appointed vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), SK Sopory has expressed reservation on the proposed Foreign Institutions Bill. Sopory pointed out areas of concern in the bill before the parliamentary standing committee on HRD, which met to discuss the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill, 2010. The proposed bill allows foreign education institutions to set up their campus in the country. According to sources, Professor Sopory said that there were concerns about the lack of a level playing field for Indian educational institutions. The availability of teachers, the differential salary structure and the impact it would have on existing domestic institutions, curriculum for these institutes and the fees to be charged by the foreign education institutes were among the issues that the JNU VC raised. Political parties like the BJP and the Left have also been opposing the bill stating it will harm the country's education system. They have argued that the government should firstly tackle the issue of faculty crunch and ensure quality among domestic private players before opening the education sector for foreign institutions. It is to be noted that the opposition is not coming just from the rival parties even Congress MP Keshav Rao has also raised concerns on teacher availability. The Congress MP from Rajya Sabha, said that foreign universities will hire the best teaching talent of the country with attractive pay packages and facilities affecting Indian universities adversely. According to sources, Rao has said that bill in its current form had no safeguards for domestic institutions.The panel may take up clause-wise discussion to find ways to address the concerns.

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