Higher Education in India: Contemporary Issues and Opportunities for Foreign Participation

31 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2009

See all articles by Rohan Mukherjee

Rohan Mukherjee

Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 1, 2008


This paper presents an overview of the contemporary issues and challenges of Indian higher education, and looks in particular at ways in which potential foreign participants can legitimately play a role in the sector. It does not seek to make a case for increased foreign participation, but presumes it to be a medium-term outcome of the process of India's integration into the global economy.

Section I presents a brief overview of higher education in India today. Section II discusses important systemic challenges (access, equity, quality) and argues that these problems stem from the lack of public investment and a flawed regulatory structure, resulting in the rapid and unregulated growth of private provision. Section III maps the existing government perspective on foreign and private participation and attempts to show that there has been an increasing dissonance in the government's view of foreign institutions. This signals a growing public debate that can be successfully leveraged by potential entrants. Section IV concludes by briefly suggesting that in the final analysis, meaningful foreign participation hinges on the regulatory system's ability to successfully balance two conflicting objectives - building a world-class educational system, and ensuring that education remains a non-commercial activity that embodies national values and priorities.

Keywords: India, education, higher education, foreign universities

JEL Classification: I28

Suggested Citation

Mukherjee, Rohan, Higher Education in India: Contemporary Issues and Opportunities for Foreign Participation (April 1, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1326011 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1326011

Rohan Mukherjee (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States

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