Sunday, March 21, 2010

Foreign universities

First few links are euphoric or alarmist. As it stands, the Bill doesn't deserve either reaction, because its impact on India's higher ed system is more likely to be puny than punchy. As brand name universities stay away, those that do show up here have neither the high quality nor the size required to make an impact.

  1. Needlessly Euphoric: Associate Chambers of Commerce is being either ignorant or dishonest in claiming that the entry of foreign universities will "help [India] save outflow of about $ 7.5 billion of foreign exchange per annum as large number of Indian students go abroad to receive higher education."

  2. Needlessly Alarmist: Daily News & Analysis executive editor R. Jagannathan thinks the entry of foreign universities will "kill the IITs and IIMs."

For a reality check, I suggest you check out Ram Mohan's post. In this DNA report, Philip Altbach says a lot of sobering things. See also this opinion piece by Venkatesan Vembu.

Here are a few more links:

  1. As I said in this post, foreign universities will need lots of assistance from the locals. I gave the example of NYU which received 50 million dollars from Abu Dhabi. Here's an excerpt this Hemali Chhapia story about Singapore's experience:

    ... INSEAD ... received $10 million for research, land at a third of the market price, soft loans, housing access, etc. [Kris] Olds notes that the University of Chicago-Booth School of Business also received several million dollars in subsidy via the renovation of the historic House of Tan Yeok Nee building, their Singapore campus. The University of New South Wales (UNSW) also benefited from subsidies upwards of $80 million.

    Even so, within months of being set up, UNSW folded up citing its “unsuitable financial model’’. Three years ago, the John Hopkins Centre, which received $52 million in funding since its 1998 arrival in Singapore, also closed down as it did not meet the performance benchmark. And the UK’s Warwick University, which was to set up a full campus in the real sense of the term, backed out at the last minute.

    Ten years down the road, as Singapore draws up a balance sheet of its expectations and realities, experts say there is a yawning gap between the two.

  2. T.T. Ram Mohan has a good post From the UAE, there's yet another report on their not-so-stellar experience with foreign universities that were set up in "free zones" outside the purview of education regulators.

  3. In case enthusiasts like Kapil Sibal and Assocham (or even alarmists like Jagannathan) need reminders about why they should tone their expectations down, here's Rahul Choudaha in University World News (this article also appears in his Choudaha's blog, Dr. Education):

    ... Some of the off-shore campuses of foreign universities in the Gulf are finding it difficult to fill classes. In addition there are big names who have had to shut down their operations in an embarrassing manner. For example, the University of New South Wales closed down its Singapore campus in 2007 in what The Australian newspaper wrote was one of "the higher education sector's worst business failures", for the reason of enrollment shortfall.

    Top reputed universities are now even more cautious about their brands and look for substantial financial support and autonomy to be present for an off-shore campus. In the Indian context, government is not in a position to provide any financial incentives nor it could ensure complete autonomy from socio-political influences. Overall, this makes the case for reputed institutions entering in India quite weak.


  1. WebMiner said...

    Abi, India is not UAE and definitely not Singapore. Those countries are capable of having expectations and even comparing them with reality. Do you think Dow/Carbide could have gotten away from Singapore? How about Dabhol? Societies that have no access to restitution must prevent damage or lose. But overall you are likely right: there is no major churn-up expected in the next ten years. Twenty, I am not so sure.

  2. Ankur Kulkarni said...

    Abi, see this. This perhaps the first credible news we have of a foreign university campus in India.