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India’s higher education system represents the third largest in terms of students, trailing only China and the USA. While the sector has witnessed growth since Independence, it continues to fall short in meeting the needs of the country. Development in higher education is vital for a country such as India, which seeks to capitalise on its growing demographic dividend. 

The National Education Policy of 2020 seeks to bring such development to India’s educational sector. One of the policies put forward under NEP 2020 is the internationalisation of the higher education system in India. This is to be carried forward by the operations of top universities in the world in India. In furtherance of the same, a regulatory framework was recently put forward by the UGC titled ‘University Grants Commission (Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India) Regulations, 2023’. 

The draft regulations provide foreign institutions with the autonomy to decide their admission process, fee structure, and remuneration to teachers, as well as allow them to repatriate their funds back home. This is a drastic change of attitude from the highly bureaucratic approach taken toward national institutions. National institutions have strict regulations over fee structuring and admission processes in order to prevent the commercialisation of higher education and to allow higher education to be equally accessible to the socially and economically weaker sections. A cursory reading of the draft regulations indicates that such factors are not applicable to foreign institutions that chose to set up in India. 

This brings to the forefront the need for setting up such institutions. The internationalisation of higher education typically involves raising the standard of education offered by national institutions to that of international institutions. Following the trend over the past few years, the QS World University Rankings 2023 have only three Indian institutions below the rank of 200. This is indicative of a deeper problem with respect to quality education among Indian higher educational institutions. This is being sidestepped by the draft regulation, which solely focuses on empowering foreign institutions rather than ensuring equal opportunities for students. 


The suggested key points for discussion are given below: 

1. What are the legal and regulatory barriers to setting up foreign universities in India?

2. Expected impact on student migrations if they have better access to foreign universities within this country. 

3. Does this regulation provide equal opportunities for students to access a better quality of education or is it a step towards empowering foreign institutions?

4. What impact would this have on the national institutions? 

5. Will opening up the domestic space for foreign universities lead to increased employment opportunities? 


Date: 20th April 2023 

Time: 05:00 PM – 06:30 PM IST 


Virtual meeting platform – Zoom 

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Meeting ID: 863 8495 6342
Passcode: 441641


1. Prof. (Dr) G Gopakumar, Advisor to CPPR and former Vice-Chancellor of the Central University of Kerala 

2. Dr Mousumi Mukherjee, Founding Executive Director, Centre for Comparative and Global Education, OP Jindal Global University

3. Ms Meeta Sengupta, FRSA, Fellow Salzburg Global Seminar & Educator 

MODERATOR – Dr Shakila T Shamsu, Advisor (Special) to CPPR, Education Policies & formerly OSD (New Education Policy), in the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education (MoE) 

HOST – Shilpa S, Associate -Research, CPPR 


Association for Public Policy Education (APPE) is meant for promoting public policy education in India. Association aims for the development of the public policy discipline and practice by encouraging collaboration and partnerships between public policy scholars, and practitioners including the institutions involved in teaching, training, and research in public policy. The objective is to advance and strengthen the discipline and practice of public policy in India.


The Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) is an independent, not-for-profit, public policy think-tank dedicated to in-depth research and scientific analysis with the objective of delivering actionable ideas that could transform society. Based out of Kochi, in Kerala, our engagement in public policy that began in 2004 has initiated open dialogue, policy changes, and institutional transformation in the areas of Urban Reforms, Development Studies, Economy, Ease of Doing Business, Governance & Law, and International Relations & Foreign Policy. 

Over the years, CPPR has worked with different Ministries and Departments of the Government of India, Different State Governments in India, City Corporations, Universities, Academia, and Civil Society Organisations on various projects and themes. We have also worked with Embassies and High Commissions of different nations in India, international foundations, and multi-lateral organizations. Please find more details about the people, work, and impact of CPPR at 

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