Announcing big education reforms, Promoting it to the world and then the bill falls flat… Welcome to India!

For years, Sibal has been flagging the education reforms including the Foreign Education Bill for years and all through knowing well that it will not see the light of the day in the form it was in. I did a blog way back in March 2010 that SIBAL’S FOREIGN EDUCATION BILL IS MERE RHETORIC and at that time few believed my thinking as Sibal spoke so eloquently on all our TV debates. Then in April 2013 I followed it up with another blog quoting an article from Forbes.

Anyways, I have written enough on this and now that the Foreign Education Bill is not going through at all… let me share an article from Times Higher Education Supplement on what is happening with all the institutions that believed in the promotions of the proposed foreign education bill and invested in the idea… My only take is that Indians go overseas to study not just to get a degree but for many other reasons… Lets not forget that.

It’s a jungle out there

25 October 2012

With legislation to open India to foreign universities still unforthcoming, it remains a difficult environment for Western institutions hoping to secure a lucrative prize. Joanna Sugden reports from New Delhi

The lizard scuttling across the car park is about the only sign of life at the University of Strathclyde’s Indian campus.

It is a sunny morning in the middle of the autumn term but the elaborate fountain in front of the building has been shut off and the name on the arched entrance gate covered over. Inside, the plush auditorium with seats for 250 is empty, the benches of the six lecture halls are unfilled and the library shelves are bare.

A year ago, Strathclyde’s Business School, in partnership with the Indian logistics company SKIL Infrastructure, opened the three-storey building in Greater Noida on the far outskirts of New Delhi and sent its staff in to teach. They were frontier academics, some of the very first to deliver British degrees at a UK campus on Indian soil. But their expedition has so far failed. Strathclyde SKIL Business School managed to enrol just six students in 2011-12. Recruitment was so low for this year that in August Strathclyde retreated from the country while it carried out a “full review”.

Read rest of the article on



  1. Ravi, your reaction (and that of many others) is surely justified. The THE story does talk about some success stories as well. A second read actually helped me realize the following:

    1) Choose your partner well; preferably one with existing infra and some equity
    2) Location of campus matters
    3) Do not templatize, rather: customize
    4) Adopt topics of local importance in case studies
    5) Bring in faculty; make teacher training paramount
    6) Make the programme affordable
    7) Market is a residential programme to students in neighboring countries as well
    8) Offer pathways, and credit transfer to and from home institution
    9) Work out student loan options with banks (?)
    10) Work closely with industry to ensure above average placements, both in India and abroad.

    I’ve had the privilege of administering the Strathclyde (and Durham) MBA in India as way back in 1999 when it was offered at the British Council, Delhi. I believe that model was ahead of its time. Now the time is right and, dare I say, so is the climate to bring serious parties together and get the wheel moving again.



    1. John, I agree with you partly that the time now is better than then. However my point relates to several areas within the said reforms that didnot take off at all. Now we have Sibal moving away too… There is NO shortage of educational institutions in India… There is shortage of QUALITY institutions only. I am told that most of the newer private colleges in engineering and other disciplines are actually not even filling up their full places. Increase capacity of existing quality “tagged” institutions as the first step in reforms. Bringing in foreign providers is a good idea but that is not going to happen unless the providers are allowed to repatriate from India…


  2. Quality is indeed the name of the game, Ravi. In the last year I had the opportunity to work with a large number Indian H.E. institutions and I know for a fact that many of them were offering either a “heavy discount” or a full waiver of the first semester fee. Most of the institution on the Ghaziabad – Meerut belt barely managed a dozen students in their classes last year. Many new institutions in Haryana and Punjab were ‘on the market’. Other colleges were churning out unemployable diploma holders by the hundreds.

    The only way I see this being rectified is that these institutions be taken over by state or other large private universities as affiliated colleges. Closing them down will only ruin the future of its alumni.

    However with overseas institutions (of quality), it will continue to be about choices that I listed out. There will be the odd ISB, Oxford Brookes, LMU (!), Bradford, etc but there will also be many more on the other side. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating the one over the other, but like it or not; with or without the government’s blessing these models of “partnerships” will always be there. There will be guidelines, court orders like the Chennai High Court’s order of 1996, and blatant violations (that must be punished) but ultimately it will be up to the student to choose wisely.


    1. i agree more or less. however without government approving the degrees granted by the institutions, they should be allowed to function. it is only in India that they continue to exist while the govt is still not sure where it stands. in any other country, they will be closed before they advertise. further, all the institutions mentioned by you are the British Universities and the huge huge debate currently is that UK degree at Masters level are not even been considered as “a Masters equivalent” in India. The saving grace is that the students have taken it on themselves to correct the wrong. PIL is being filed and Shashi Tharoor has taken the issue up. Now that Tharoor is in HRD ministry, i am sure that it will help.


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