ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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FDI in Higher Education

The decision of the government of India to allow foreign direct investment in higher education is based on a consultation paper prepared by the commerce ministry, which is marked by shoddy arguments, perverse logic and forced conclusions. This article examines the issues and financial compulsions presented in the consultation paper.

Official Vision Needs Correction

A RAJESH KUMAR SHARMA strangely is improved literacy. A linkis suggested between market-comples press reports indicate, the gov-mentary arrangements in education inernment of India seems to have the developed countries and the highmade up its mind to allow foreignlevels of literacy that obtain there. Imdirect investment (FDI) in higher educa-proved literacy has all along been taggedtion. A group of ministers has cleared awith better primary education, yet the proposal on foreign service providers andconsultation paper expects to somehow a bill is expected to be prepared shortly. raise the literacy levels with FDI in higherA short while ago, the ministry of com-education. merce had released a consultation paperThe second requirement is to contain thewith the stated purpose of initiating dis-outflow of money to other countries in thecussions on the issue of allowing FDI. Itsshape of fees and related expenditure. Thetone and tenor clearly indicated the officialpaper does not, however, rely on any dataposition which, as democratic conventions based study of the courses and institutionsdemand, should have been arrived at onlychosen by the Indian students abroad. Itafter a sufficient and comprehensivelydoes confront the reality that a very largedocumented debate. Instead, the govern-number of students go abroad to work andment is pushing the bill with extreme andearn and not to get education at someungracious haste as if it is answerable onlyinternationally reputed university. It is to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) also silent on how the fees received byand not to its own people. We can, there-foreign-based universities in India willfore, only hope that the Parliament willbe utilised. discuss the issue threadbare. But that, The third requirement, based on aunfortunately, is not very likely.McKinsey-NASSCOM study, is the needWhat is most disturbing is that theto train a large number of graduates to decision to allow FDI has been taken on handle the expected bonanza of offshorethe basis of a consultation paper which isbusiness and to work for multinational marked by shoddy arguments, perversecompanies. Most of these millions oflogic and forced conclusions. Indeed, ajobs will be in the information technocareful reading of it leads to the conclusionlogy (IT) and information technologythat there is no case for allowing FDI.enabled services (ITES) sectors and will This article raises essentially four issues certainly not require Harvard-standardwhich need critical attention: the objectiveseducation. Moreover, let us not expectof higher education, its contextual rel-a few Harvard and Oxford-like satellite evance, the prevailing financial situationcampuses in India to turn out graduatesand the viability of alternatives to FDI. in millions over the next five or six years.The fourth requirement arises from the dubious ambition to join the league

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