News Analysis: What Recent Moves in India Could Mean for American Higher Education

According to the article below, India’s new higher education minister, Kapil Sibal, is expected to bring major changes to the regulation of higher education in his country. Many suggest Sibal will allow foreign universities to establish campuses in the country, and that he will streamline the current 16 dysfunctional higher education oversight bodies in India.

If India does open up to foreign higher educational institutions, what does this mean for the United States ? For many private universities, the opening of India would present a high-growth market with immense untapped demand: Currently, only 9% of India ’s 1.1 billion people complete a postsecondary degree. However, the opportunity to access such a huge customer base does not come without challenges. Educators must consider how to adapt their teaching styles, hiring, and curriculum to suit an entirely new audience, a feat that will require a great deal of flexibility, cultural sensitivity, and work. Additionally, although India’s per capita income has increased dramatically in recent years, it still dramatically lags that of the US – meaning that universities will have to re-examine tuition and financial aid for the country.

One major concern for US higher education institutions looking to enter India is their ability to maintain educational standards in this new market. Will a degree from a US-based university in India bring the same clout, skills and marketability as the same degree from the US ? As educators in the United States consider national standards for K-12 students, a new movement may be dawning: worldwide post-secondary educational standards.

Chronicle of Higher Education

Kapil Sibal, India’s new minister in charge of higher education, might actually do what many Indians have long hoped for: shake up the country’s dysfunctional higher-education system. He may also do what many Americans have wished for: open India up to foreign universities.

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