Before we begin celebrating the opening up of higher education to foreign direct investment as we should --- the Foreign Education Providers (Regulation) Bill is likely to be tabled in the coming budget session of Parliament --- let’s pause. The assumption that universities across the world, from Harvard and MIT to Cambridge and Oxford, are just waiting for the clearance of this Bill to enter India with all their intellectual and financial infrastructure may not quite be realised. What we do see today are liaison offices of two-bit, unknown universities making a pitch that’s part education, part ‘come share the good life’.
That private investment --- Indian or foreign --- in education (primary, secondary or higher) is an aching need is a rhetoric that has been bled to death. Of course, it is needed. It should have happened decades ago. The cost of not doing that is a mediocre teaching infrastructure, where status and financial incentives to a teacher are based on how long s/he has worked for rather than the foremost quality: Quality.
Opinion in The Indian Express, November 30, 2006