Deakin University announces India Campus: Will Foreign Universities raise academic standards and benefit Indian students, parents?

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Should we celebrate the recent announcement by Australia’s Deakin University that it will be setting campus in India? Should we rejoice that more foreign universities will soon be established in India? Expert opinions are divided on this hot subject. Given the importance of this topic, and recent developments, “Foreign University in India” is likely to be a hot topic for Group discussion and Personal Interview for MBA and other competitive exams. MBAUniverse.com presents both sides of this debate.  

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The Context
The ground for inviting Foreign Universities in India was laid by New Education Policy which aims at “academic exchange and cooperation between Indian and global institutions to raise the standard of higher education and research in the country”.

 

Australia’s Deakin University, which will be the first foreign university to set up a campus in GIFT City (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City), will roll out academic programmes from July 2024 where students will also have the option to migrate to campuses in its home country, its Vice-Chancellor, Iain Martin, has said. The announcement was made during the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's visit to Ahmedabad on March 8.

 

Deakin’s International Branch Campus (IBC) will be spread over 25,000 square feet within GIFT City, and will be set up with an investment of 4 million Australian dollars. The university will offer a Master’s programme in cybersecurity (professional) and a Master’s in Business Analytics. Deakin is a public university in Australia, and ranks 266 in the QS Global Rankings 2022.

 

Deakin University of Australia has tied up with five major corporates including TCS, Infosys, HSBC, HCL for industry interface including guest lectures, internships, etc., its vice-chancellor said. “Initially we will commence two post graduate courses in cybersecurity and business analytics with an investment of Rs 21.7 crore approximately. These will be a mirror image of Australian courses. We will start with 60 students per course and increase it to 120 students. We have tied with five companies – TCS, Infosys, HSFC, HCL, Xebia – for guest lectures, internships. It will not be a pure academic course but will have integration with industry work,” Deakin University Vice-Chancellor Iain Martin told Indian media. 

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Will Foreign Universities in India be really world class?
According to education experts, it is not clear how a foreign university in India will raise the standards to the world level. The main constituents of a university are students/scholars and faculty. The bulk of the students will be from within the country. Would these students transform themselves to a higher level, just because they will join a Foreign Institution? Most faculty members at these international universities too are expected to be Indians? How will be raise their teaching-research just by being part of a Foreign University? No clear answers to these questions exist, as we do not have any empirical evidence to go by.

 

Will student’s benefit?
An argument put forth in favour of the arrival of foreign universities in India is that for lower fees students in India will get a world-class ambience. Students go abroad for different reasons –for the experience of living abroad, for different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, for the important reason of finding a job abroad and for getting overseas citizenship.

 

Increasing competition is good for Indian universities?
Will the incursion of foreign universities in India up the game and make our universities strive to reach world standards? Not likely, as no obstacles has prevented any of them to raise the bar. Why wait for foreign universities to spur them on, and in what way are they likely to do so, given that the two components that we discussed above will in no way alter the educational scenario in the country? 

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Level playing field for Indian Universities?
With Australia’s Deakin University set to be the first foreign university to set up an international branch campus (IBC), and more institutions set to follow, universities in the country have expressed their concern to the UGC over autonomy granted to these foreign universities, and have sought level playing field. The Association of Indian Universities (AIU) held a meeting on March 6 of all stakeholders. Most VCs “welcomed” the move, as it will “generate competition”, Pankaj Mittal, secretary general of the association, said. But, she said, “at the same time, they are afraid there will be poaching of faculty (members) and students”. “We did a stakeholder meeting of all V-Cs to find out what they feel about it.

 

As more International Universities are expected to set up foreign university campuses in India, the list of Foreign Universities in India will continue to grow. MBA in Foreign Universities in India also be a reality. Hence, foreign university in India will remain a hot topic. Government must ensure that students and parents, specially those belonging to middle-class India, actually benefits from the entry of these universities in India. It must not remain just an opportunity to the rich, who in any case can afford to send their kids abroad.

 

MBAUniverse.com will continue to track entry of Foreign Universities in India. Stay tuned. 

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