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May 25 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


The University Grants Commission (UGC) has recently introduced regulations to facilitate the entry of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions (FHEIs) in India.  

This move is seen as a significant step, comparable to the economic reforms of 1991, aimed at enhancing the quality and competitiveness of India’s higher education system. 

Current Scenario of Higher Education in India 

Growth in Higher Educational Institutes 

  • Total Institutions: As per the All-India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) 2021-22, India has 1,168 universities, 45,473 colleges, and 12,002 standalone institutions. 
  • Recent Establishments: Since 2014-15, 341 universities have been established. 
  • Women’s Institutions: There are 17 universities (including 14 State Public Universities) and 4,470 colleges exclusively for women. 
  • Global Rankings: Seven Indian institutions feature in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings, with IIT Bombay ranked highest at the 40th position. 

Major Flaws in Higher Education in India 

Limited Access 

  • Barriers: Financial constraints, inadequate infrastructure, and limited quality institutions, especially in rural areas, hinder access to higher education. 
  • Access to Quality Education: Disparities in quality between top-tier institutions and others are significant. 

Quality Disparities 

  • Premier Institutes: While IITs and IIMs are globally renowned, many other colleges and universities suffer from outdated curricula, inadequate faculty, and insufficient resources. 

Outdated Curriculum 

  • Industry Relevance: The curriculum in many institutions does not align with industry requirements or global standards, necessitating regular updates to equip graduates with relevant skills. 

Youth Migration 

  • Study Abroad: In 2022, nearly 4.5 lakh Indian students went abroad for studies, resulting in a significant outflow of capital and indicating a high interest in foreign universities. 

Lack of Research and Innovation 

  • Rote Learning: Indian universities often prioritize rote learning over research and innovation. 
  • Funding and Infrastructure: There is a need to foster a research culture with adequate funding and infrastructure support. 

Teacher Shortage and Quality 

  • Qualified Faculty: There is a shortage of qualified faculty in many disciplines, leading to reliance on temporary and underqualified teachers. 
  • Teaching Quality: The quality of teaching varies widely, affecting student learning outcomes. 

Employability Gap 

  • Skills Mismatch: There is a significant gap between the skills graduates possess and the skills demanded by employers, leading to high rates of unemployment and underemployment. 

Overemphasis on Degrees 

  • Practical Skills: The focus on obtaining degrees rather than acquiring practical skills leads to a disconnect between education and employment. 

Government initiatives: 

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 

  • Holistic Reform: NEP 2020 aims to transform the education system to meet 21st-century needs, focusing on holistic and multidisciplinary education, curriculum flexibility, promotion of research and innovation, and increased access and equity. 

Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) 

  • Quality Improvement: Launched in 2013, RUSA aims to improve the overall quality of state higher educational institutions through strategic funding, infrastructure development, faculty improvement, and governance reforms. 

SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) 

  • Online Education: SWAYAM offers free online courses from high school to postgraduate levels across various disciplines, providing quality education resources to students, especially in remote areas. 

Institutions of Eminence (IoE) Scheme 

  • World-Class Status: This scheme identifies higher education institutions as “Institutions of Eminence” to grant them greater autonomy and financial assistance, enabling them to compete globally and attract top faculty and students. 

National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) 

  • Promoting Competition: Launched to rank higher education institutions in India based on teaching, learning, research, outreach, and inclusivity, encouraging institutions to improve overall quality. 

National Research Foundation 

  • Promoting Research: NRF aims to engage colleges and universities in scientific research by encouraging active researchers to take up professorships and start or improve research cells in collaboration with existing faculty. 

Way Ahead 

Focus on Excellence 

  • Beyond Numbers: Simply having more universities than China is not enough; the core purpose of higher education should be to achieve excellence. 
  • Research Culture: A robust and thriving research culture is essential for higher educational institutes to become world-class. 

Implementation and Sustained Efforts 

  • Effective Implementation: The success of reforms and initiatives depends on their effective implementation and sustained efforts. 
  • Meaningful Progress: Ensuring meaningful progress and positive outcomes requires continuous monitoring and adaptation of policies to meet evolving educational needs. 

Attracting Foreign Universities 

  • Investment Attraction: Encouraging prestigious universities like Oxford, Cambridge, or Harvard to open campuses in India requires creating an attractive market for investment. 
  • Regulatory Framework: Ensuring a level-playing field for FHEIs and domestic institutions is crucial. 


India’s higher education system stands at the cusp of transformative change. By addressing the flaws and implementing comprehensive reforms, India can enhance the quality and accessibility of higher education, fostering a culture of research and innovation.  

The entry of FHEIs, combined with robust policy initiatives, can propel India towards becoming a global education hub, ultimately contributing to the nation’s overall development and prosperity. 

Mains Question: 

  1. “Discuss the potential impacts and challenges of the recent UGC regulations facilitating the entry of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions (FHEIs) in India, in the context of the existing flaws in the higher education system.” (150 WORDS)


May 25
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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