Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Some clarity on what the foreign universities are likely to do

Most top universities are unlikely to set up an Indian campus -- the list of universities that have said 'no' to this option is pretty long: Yale, Columbia, Brown, Oxford, Cambridge, ...

Here, for example, is Prof. Andrew Hamilton, Vice Chancellor of Oxford:

We have many links to India already but we have no plans...in the foreseeable future to establish a campus in India and we have no plans to offer degree courses anywhere other than Oxford for the time being.

Any particular reason?

Oh, I think there are many reasons. Oxford is an institution 800 years in the making and recreating the very special environment that sits in 700-year-old colleges and the living environment that they provide and that critical mass of scholars and students that is present in Oxford, that is a very hard thing to reproduce anywhere else.

Would it be accurate then to say 'Oxford' is not really a brand you're interested in franchising?

Universities are much more complex than talking of hamburgers and franchises.

[The last answer is brilliant, isn't it?]

I think we now have some clarity on the most likely option for foreign universities that wish to have a presence in India.

Partnerships and Collaboration.

This option offers a lot of flexibility, and could take many forms -- short term exchange programs (study tours and semester-long stays), summer internships, and / or longer programs where students do their coursework in India and do their final year projects overseas.

The Indian partner can advertise the tie-up with foreign universities; the foreign partner will have a dependable host in India to send its students to under an exchange program. The overseas partner may also manage to extract some 'earnest money' from the Indian partner -- all of which will end up increase the cost of education in these colleges and universities.

There's also a potential upside: If the partnership is broad enough to include faculty exchanges (and long term collaborative research), it will be a huge plus for India -- India will benefit from the expertise of people who have worked under many different kinds of environments.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Higher education (> MBBS) medical schools that have significant infrastructural expenditure to set up besides profit potential can be another thrust area for foreign university participation. Something on the lines of Weill Cornell medical college in Quatar (http://qatar-weill.cornell.edu/). There is already a huge deficiency in MD granting instis (& research oriented medical education).