American Varsities Keen on Coming to India: Sibal

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal has said that some of the best American universities and educational institutes are “extremely interested” in coming to India and keenly await the relevant law to be put in place so that they can move forward.

“They are not only extremely interested, but they are also proactive in expressing their hope that the law (in India) would be put in place very soon so that actually they can come forward and come to India as foreign education providers,” Sibal told Indian reporters, winding up his week-long visit to the US last evening.

In the course of his visit to New York and Washington, Sibal had meetings with presidents of a number of best US universities, including those of the Harvard University, Boston University, Yale University and MIT.

Sibal also met US Secretary for Education, Arny Duncan. The two leaders agreed to set up a US-India Education Council, comprising of top US academicians, university officials and representatives from other educational institutions so as to encourage public-private partnership in India’s higher education sector.

Yesterday, he had a roundtable with representatives of other top American varsities from various regions of the country, besides meeting eminent Indian-American academicians and a delegation of PANIIT.

The minister described his visit as “exceptionally satisfying” and said that during his meetings he explained that “we are reforming our education system and setting up a number of educational institutions.”

“We also indicated to them we are hopefully going to introduce the Foreign Education Providers’ bill as and when it gets cleared from the Cabinet,” he said.

“This will allow them flexibility to have any kind of arrangements with partners in India or for that matter they would be entitled to set up institutions there,” Sibal said.

The visit to America, he said, was to explore the possibilities of tying up with high quality globally recognised education providers.

“If we could actually tie up with some of these world class American universities and persuade them to enter into arrangements with the existing institutions or setting up new innovation universities in India, we thought that then we would set an example of the level of excellence we aspire for so that other institutions in the higher education which will come up should be able to match that benchmark,” he noted.

“We have told them that they would be like private unaided institutions in India. Whatever law is applicable to private unaided institutions, I guess the same law would apply to foreign education providers who are unaided,” he said in response to a question.

“All that they want is a level-playing field, which we will give them,” the minister said.

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