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Foreign Universities Best Bet for Better Education


Context

A noticeable trend in recent times has been the increasing migration of Indian students to foreign countries for higher education and job opportunities, particularly in states like Kerala and Punjab. Several factors contribute to this exodus, prompting questions about the quality of education in India, the state of infrastructure in educational institutions, and the colonial mindset that perceives foreign countries as superior.

Relevance:

GS2- Education

Mains Question:

Foreign university campuses in India may be good for many reasons but improvement of higher education is not one of them. Discuss. (10 marks, 150 words).

Recent Developments:

  • This trend is becoming so significant that students are leaving the country even after completing their schooling, raising concerns about a potential generation of elderly couples residing in affluent homes.
  • The recent notification from the UGC regarding regulations for the establishment of foreign universities in India might make obtaining a degree from a reputable foreign institution easier for the privileged class.

Factors contributing to this exodus:

Administrative Procedures:

  • A major issue in higher education within India is the cumbersome administrative procedures in public sector universities and colleges. Dealing with administrative personnel in these institutions often proves more challenging than mastering complex subjects.
  • Doctoral students, in particular, spend a significant portion of their productive time navigating bureaucratic hurdles.
  • Obtaining no-objection certificates from various sections, even those unrelated to their courses, is a common practice.
  • Even after earning a PhD, students may need to restart the entire paperwork process if they seek a NET exemption certificate.
  • The need for these convoluted administrative procedures is questionable. It raises concerns about whether they exist to protect the jobs of redundant staff members.
  • While a few modern public sector universities have streamlined these processes, many still adhere to traditional bureaucratic practices. As a result, students opt to pursue their degrees in foreign countries to avoid unnecessary hassles and complete their education within specified timelines.

Attractive Salaries:

  • Another significant factor contributing to the mass exodus is the attractive salaries offered in foreign countries.
  • Students nowadays expect remuneration even for minor assistance, a departure from the past when students provided services such as maintaining departmental libraries and gardens.
  • Additionally, the higher tuition fees in foreign universities make admission accessible primarily to individuals from affluent backgrounds.

Weightage of Degrees:

Furthermore, degrees obtained from foreign universities with campuses in India may not carry the same weight as those earned from their main campuses in respective countries.

Cultural Environment:

The cultural environment of a university is closely tied to societal culture, and while foreign universities may attempt to embrace an alien culture, the local societal culture is likely to influence their campuses.

Way Forward:

  • While the establishment of foreign university campuses in India is a positive step, it may not yield long-term benefits. Instead, efforts should focus on improving the quality of education and research in public sector universities, attracting international students to India.
  • Having a diverse student population on our campuses would enhance academic quality and contribute to the public exchequer.

Conclusion:

Drawing inspiration from historical institutions like Takshashila and Nalanda, India should aspire to a future where students from foreign countries visit our public sector universities, and Indian universities establish campuses globally. This approach can serve as a catalyst for spreading Indian values and philosophy worldwide.


February 2024
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