Region/Countries: Asia, India Industry: Other Date: February 2021

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Changes to post-secondary education will facilitate international collaboration and make it easier for Indian students to undertake graduate work in the U.S.

In an effort to revamp India’s educational system, the government of India introduced the 2020 National Educational Policy (NEP) in July. India’s first education policy was implemented 35 years ago, in 1986. The new policy proposes revising and revamping all aspects of the education structure, including its regulation and governance, to create a new system aligned with the aspirational goals of 21st-century education, and aims to transform India into a vibrant knowledge-based society. Some of the provisions in the new policy would open up opportunities for Wisconsin-based universities to enter the Indian market to open up a campus (operating through 100% foreign direct investment or through collaboration with a local partner) or for research/teaching collaborations and faculty/student exchange.

According to the NEP 2020:

  • Research/teaching collaborations and faculty/student exchanges with high-quality foreign institutions will be facilitated, and relevant mutually beneficial memoranda of understanding with foreign governments will be signed.
  • High-performing Indian universities will be encouraged to set up campuses in other countries, and similarly, selected universities (e.g., those from among the top 100 universities in the world) will be facilitated to operate in India.
  • A legislative framework facilitating entry will be put in place, and universities that meet certain criteria will be given special dispensation from regulatory, governance and content norms.
  • Research collaboration and student exchanges between Indian institutions and global institutions will be promoted through special efforts.
  • Credits acquired in foreign universities will be recognized, where appropriate, to be counted toward degree requirements.

The transfer of credits would provide academic flexibility to students, and it will now be easier for U.S. institutions to develop memoranda of understanding with their Indian counterparts. The 2020 NEP aims to establish multidisciplinary education and research universities to set universal standards for multidisciplinary education across India, enabling higher mobility of students and collaboration with international universities and research institutes.

India’s student population tends to be especially interested in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, but the 2020 NEP emphasizes holistic and multidisciplinary education that integrates humanities and arts with STEM, opening up collaboration opportunities for liberal arts colleges and universities in Wisconsin. The 2020 NEP aims to broaden access t higher education with measures including online education and distance learning, presenting opportunities for Wisconsin-based universities to provide online programs for Indian students.

The 2020 NEP would also help Wisconsin-based universities to recruit students for graduate programs, as it offers undergraduate degrees of both three- and four-year duration. Currently, Indian undergraduate education is three years, so Indian students are required to study for an additional year before they can join graduate programs in the U.S. In the new system, with a four-year undergraduate program, students can join a graduate program at a U.S. university immediately after their undergraduate program in India, making it easier for Indian students to undertake graduate work at U.S. universities.