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Understanding India: The future of higher education and opportunities for international cooperation

British Council. Understanding India: The future of higher education and opportunities for international cooperation. 2014. Pages: 47.

Compiled by Senior Education Adviser and India expert Lynne Heslop, the new British Council report on India delivers a deep insight into upcoming developments in Indian higher education. The report is based on a contextual analysis and more than 50 in-depth interviews with higher education experts, academics and policy makers and is broadly divided in four different parts. At the very centre of attention lies the question of what opportunities India can provide for UK education providers in terms of higher education cooperation and internationalisation.

The first part provides a background on India as an emerging market and its growing demand in higher education. By 2025 India’s middle class will amount to 500 million people, with 25 million households disposing of an income equivalent of USD 15 000 (EUR 10 965) which, in turn, makes the cost of high Anglo-Saxon tuition fees more or less affordable. Although India is expected to become the third largest economy by 2020, wealth will be distributed unevenly with a huge disparity gap between the poor and the rich. Although briefly touched upon at the end of the first part, the second section deals in more detail with the state of affairs of Indian higher education and policy related to the field such as the foreign educational institutions bill, or the innovation and research universities bill. The authors tackles important questions such as the legal not-for-profit status of higher education in India, illegal capitation fees at private higher education institutions, lack of quality in teaching and learning, and the low gross enrolment ratio in India. An important emphasis is put on the Indian government’s 12th five year plan and its holistic approach to reform Indian higher education extensively, as well as the devolution of higher education competencies to the states within India. The third and most comprehensive part presents the findings from the expert interviews. Views on a very wide field of topics such as regional distinctions, digital learning technologies, research cooperation and research exchange, lack of employability and important skills, quality assurance and credit recognition, and many more are presented. The final chapter provides a brief summary and recommendations mainly on an institutional and policy level.

The British Council report manages to give a very good and wide overview of the current situation, as well as upcoming changes in Indian higher education. By deliberately putting a focus on political, legislative and institutional issues, the author provides the necessary information in order to determine potential opportunities and challenges for foreign higher education providers. 

British Council - Press release

British Council - Report