The Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill, 2010:
This Bill claims to regulate the functioning of foreign universities who provide education in India. However, as per the provisions of the Bill, the FEIs will be free to charge any fee. Will be free to select any student. With no provision for SC/ST/OBC reservations in the Bill; will be free to have their own norms regarding pay of teachers and employees(leading to appointments without necessary qualifications on exploitative terms as is in existence in most private institutions today) ; will have complete autonomy over course structure and syllabi leading to offering of courses which the market needs and will not be required to submit reports to the UGC or to the central government( implying that neither the UGC, nor any other regulatory authority in India will have control over the functioning of these foreign universities making it almost impossible to withdraw the recognition given to a foreign university, even if there are serious problems). International experience indicates that such legislation can neither attract truly ‘world-class’ institutions, but can only allow unreliable educations shops to sell sub-standard wares (relatively free of regulation) to Indian students.
The Universities for Innovation Bill 2010:
This Bill proposes to set up 14 “Universities for Innovation” in India, which will enjoy Government funding but be totally free from any kind of regulation of standards or fees! These Universities, in the name of being ‘free to innovate”, will be free to have foreign VCs; ‘merit-based’ admission process free from any obligations to reserve seats for SC/STs and OBCs; fix their own free structures; pay differential fees to faculty; and admit up to 50% foreign students (in contrast to ordinary universities which have a 15% cap on foreign students). These Universities, while enjoying Government funding in the shape of grants of land, fellowships etc, will be free from supervision by regulatory authorities like the UGC. There are no norms for curriculum, teaching quality, students’ assessment etc spelled out for the promoters of these universities, and no penalty for making false claims or failing to provide quality education.
The Educational Tribunals Bill 2010:
In the name of setting up educational tribunals at national and state level to resolve disputes among stakeholders in the education sector and penalise unfair practices, the aim of this Bill seems to be to restrict the recourse of teachers, employees and students to courts. This would facilitate foreign and private players in the education sector who would like to be free from the prospect of being taken to court.
The National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill 2010:
This Bill proposes to make accreditation compulsory. It may be that fund cuts can follow in case an institution fails to achieve sufficient credits. However, the central government will have the power to offer exemptions. Private or otherwise influential players can therefore secure such exemption, which is an open invitation to graft and corruption.
National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) Bill 2010:
Under provisions of this Bill, all existing regulatory like UGC, AICTE, NCTE and the MCI will be replaced by the establishment of a single-window National Council for Higher Education and Research (NCHER). The NCHER will draw its resources directly from Ministry of Finance and thus not be accountable to the MHRD mandated for this purpose. This body has been designed on the lines of World Bank-recommended regulatory bodies for every service sector in every country. It is designed to bypass the political process and to facilitate global corporate trade.
Higher education is thus being thrown open for the private players in the name of ridding it of problems like corruption and capitation fees and ensuring higher standards. However, the telecom scam is a reminder that privatisation and greed for profit go hand-in-hand with corruption. The UPA’s agenda for India’s higher education dictated by the WTO, FEIs and corporates will not only further exclude the poor and underprivileged, it will increase the scale of chaos and corruption in education manifold.