People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 21

May 23, 2010


An Instrument to

Kill Higher Education - I

Vijender Sharma


THE Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill, 2010 has been introduced in the Lok Sabha on May 3, 2010 amidst the opposition of the CPI(M) and others. Immediately afterwards, the Students Federation of India and Democratic Teachers’ Front of Delhi University burnt the copies of the bill outside parliament and demanded its immediate withdrawal. Hundreds of such protests were organised all over the country in the state capitals and districts headquarters.  A similar bill the “Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operation, Maintenance of Quality and Prevention of Commercialisation) Bill, 2007” was planned to be introduced in the parliament (Rajya Sabha), in the first week of May 2007. However, it was withdrawn before introduction due to the opposition of the CPI(M).


According to the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the FEI Bill, 2010, a number of Foreign Educational Institutions (FEIs) have been operating in the country and some of them may be resorting to various malpractices to allure and attract students. Further, there is no comprehensive and effective policy for regulation on the operations of all the FEIs in the country. It has given rise to chances of adoption of various unfair practices besides commercialisation. Therefore, the enactment of a legislation is to “maintain the standards of higher education within the country as well as to protect the interests of the students and in public interest.” It should be noted that the central government failed to implement the provisions of the AICTE Regulation, 2005 in this connection.


Foreign Educational Institution (FEI), section 2(e), means “an institution established or incorporated outside India which has been offering educational services for at least twenty years in the country” of its origin and “which offers educational services in India or proposes to offer courses leading to award of degree or diploma or certificate or any other award through conventional method including classroom teaching method not including distant mode in India independently or in collaboration, partnership or in a twinning arrangement with any educational institution situated in India.”


No FEI, section 3, shall admit any person as a student, or collect any fee from such person or its students in India for any course of study leading to the award of a degree or a diploma, by whatever named called, unless such institution has been notified by the central government as a foreign education provider (FEP) under section 4(8).




For being recognised as a FEP, a FEI has to submit its application under section 4 to the Registrar (UGC Secretary) endorsed by the Embassy or High Commission in India of the country of its origin. Existing FEIs have to apply within six months of the commencement of this Act. The FEI will have to maintain a corpus fund of not less than Rs 50 crore (about US$11 million). The FEI will also have to submit at the time of application the documents to the effect that it has been established and offering educational services for at least twenty years under a law of the country in which it is established. It will also give the status of its accreditation, wherever applicable, from the accrediting agency of that country. After a process of eight   months, the central government may recognise, under section 4(8), a FEI as a FEP for the purpose of award of degree or diploma or both in India.


Thus a FEI can be recognised as FEP, if established for 20 years in the country of its origin and deposits a sum of Rs 50 crore. Given the profits involved in the business of education, this sum is a pittance. If accreditation is not applicable in a country, then no rating is required. However, in such cases which accrediting agency will assess, accredit or assure quality and standards has not been provided for in the Bill.


Under ‘twinning programme’, section 2(p), students enrolled with a FEP complete their study partly in India and partly “in any other educational institution situated outside India.” Given this definition, the FEP is not obliged to offer part of the programme in its country of origin. Using this provision any predatory FEP might offer part of its programme in a country which suits it better for making more profits.


A FEP, section 5(1), will have to ensure that the course or programme of study offered and imparted by it in India is in conformity with the standards laid down by the statutory authority, and is of quality comparable, as to the curriculum, methods of imparting education and the faculty employed or engaged to impart education, to those offered by it to students enrolled in its main campus in the country of its origin.


Therefore, a FEP ranked of low quality in its country of origin, will not be under any obligation to raise quality in India under this section. It will also not be under any obligation to raise the quality of its faculty. However, there is no mention whether a FEP can start or not the course or programme of study which does not take note of cultural and linguistic sensitivities of people of India and adversely affect the sovereignty and integrity of India.




A FEP, section 5(2), will not be allowed to utilise more than 75 per cent out of the income received from the corpus fund for the purposes of development of its institution in India and the remaining of such unutilised income will be deposited into the corpus fund itself. No part of surplus in revenue generated in India by such FEP, section 5(3), after meeting all expenditure in regard to its operations in India, shall be invested for any purpose other than for the growth and development of the educational institutions established by it in India.


This provision means that surplus in revenue generated in India cannot be repatriated outside India. This is actually not for implementation. This has been included by the central government deliberately to divert the attention of the people from the ills of foreign direct investment (FDI) in education and implement its neo-liberal agenda and commercialisation of education. The FEPs will find many ways to reinvest the surplus in profit making ventures including real estate business.


A FEP, section 6(1), will have to declare fee and other charges payable by students, conditions of eligibility for admission as a student, process of admission, details of teaching faculty including their qualification and whether they are regular or visiting members, minimum pay and other emoluments payable to teachers and other employees.


Thus a FEP will be free to charge any fee, select any student, and have its own norms regarding pay of teachers and employees. A FEP cannot fix the price of its prospectus, under a frivolous section 6(2), more than the reasonable cost of its production and distribution and no profit to be made. This is yet another section to divert the attention of the people. The central government actually promotes raising of resources by other means including charging heavily for prospectus. Therefore, even the public universities in India, including central universities, make crores of rupees from the sale of their prospectuses and fleece the students.




Under section 7, if a FEP violates any provisions of this Act or the UGC Act, 1956 or any other law for the time being in force or rules, regulations or orders made or notifications issued there under, then its FEP status can be withdrawn after due process. In such a situation, the central government will ensure alternative and appropriate educational facilities for the affected students. The central government may attach its corpus fund and such other property as it deems fit to make payments to any person employed in India by such FEP and for making appropriate educational facilities for concerned students..


Any person, associated with an educational institution or a FEI not being a FEP or a FEP whose recognition has been withdrawn violates section 3 of this Act or releases misleading advertisements or gives wrongful information in the print, electronic or any other media will be liable, under section 8, to refund the fees collected, confiscation of any gains made and a penalty of minimum of ten lakh rupees and a maximum of fifty lakh rupees.


However, in case a FEP releases misleading advertisements or gives wrongful information in the media, no penalty is prescribed.


In case a FEP violates section 5 related to the maintenance of standards or any other provision, its corpus fund can be forfeited. It will also be liable to refund fees collected and a penalty of minimum of ten lakh rupees and a maximum of fifty lakh rupees.


This is a meagre penalty given the scale of business such institutes do and dupe the students. There is no provision for any criminal action under IPC as is provided for in the AICTE Regulation 2005 or 2010.

(To be continued)