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UGC Greenlights Foreign Universities to Establish Branch Campuses in India

The University Grant Commission (UGC) notified regulations permitting foreign universities ranked among the world’s top 500 to set up branch campuses in India, decide on their admission process, fee structure, and also repatriate funds to their parent campuses. 

This comes shortly after Australia’s Western Sydney University announced plans to establish an independent campus in Bangalore.

If each university individually satisfies the requirements, two or more universities may work together to establish campuses in India. Every international institution is permitted to open multiple campuses in India. They must, however, submit a different application to the commission for each planned campus.

The guidelines were notified almost 10 months after the draft was made public for feedback. Based on the inputs, the final regulations have been tweaked. For instance, the final rules mandate that foreign universities should ensure that international faculty appointed to teach at the Indian campuses stay in the country for at least a semester.

The final regulations have also extended the standing committee’s application processing time from 45 to 60 days. The committee’s recommendations ought to be presented to the UGC in 60 days, as opposed to the 45 days specified in the draught regulations.

Furthermore, “international universities are prohibited from opening study centres, learning centres, or franchises that could serve as the parent entity’s representative offices in order to promote their programmes in their home country or any other country outside of India.” Before launching a new programme on their campus in India, they must obtain commission clearance, according to the requirements.

“No programmes can be offered online or in Open and Distance Learning modes under these regulations. However, lectures in online mode not exceeding 10% of the programme requirements are allowed,” it added.

Foreign institutions need not pay any annual fees to the UGC other than the one-time application fees. They shall set up their campuses using their own infrastructure, land, physical resources and human resources. Foreign universities may provide on their Indian campuses full or partial merit-based or need-based scholarships and fee concessions to Indian students.

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Source: The Indian Express

Although this aligns with the National Education Policy, 2020, which aims to establish a legal framework to permit prestigious international universities to operate in India, previous attempts, such as those undertaken by the UPA government, encountered opposition from various parties, including the Left and the BJP, which was the Opposition at the time.

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