India: The Empire(‘s education system) strikes back?

One lasting legacy of the Empire/Commonwealth has been interest, and demand for, ‘a British education’ from countries in the Caribbean, Africa and India.  Whilst Chinese investment in Africa continues to potentially change Europe’s relationship with that continent perhaps the more immediate changes are taking place in India.

I have seen a few pieces of late advocating for Indian education to improve across the board, a number of which called upon historical precedent of fine Indian institutions which existed long before the Raj.  This is, presumably, partly nationalist sentiment coming through but also indicates a growing confidence as the country flexes substantial economic muscle.

It was interesting then to see a call for improvement in Higher Education from the President of India coming in the same month as India’s long discussed opposition to foreign universities setting up bases there coming to an end.  This will be of huge interest, no doubt, to Western universities who have eyed India as a natural base of operations and, thanks to culture, language and other reasons is potentially an easier entry point to this kind of operation than universities have found in setting up campuses elsewhere, such as Nottingham’s Ningbo Campus.

The clause in India’s proposed changes that “a foreign university cannot repatriate money that it makes in India” also goes some way to avoid the criticism leveled within Britain that increased private money in education is simply seeing tax funds sent abroad to the various parent companies, software suppliers, investors, service providers, etc that have become involved in either owning or supporting educational institutions from Free Schools to Higher Education’s expanding private sector.

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