Beyond the Top 200 – Effective International Collaboration for Indian Higher Education

By Tara Panjwani

The UK India Business Council launches its latest report 'Beyond the Top 200' during our Higher Education Delegation to Delhi and Mumbai.

Beyond the Top 200 – Effective International Collaboration for Indian Higher Education‘.

Indian students are a valuable part of every community across the UK. The quality of UK universities rightly attracts students from across the world, but few more so than from India. Despite efforts to increase this, the limited capacity to exchange students will never be enough to ensure equal access for all Indian students to the highest quality education the UK and the world has to offer.

For this reason, we are highly encouraged that the Government of India is creating policy to allow foreign universities to operate in the country. This is a welcome step that would allow the best courses, teaching, and facilities available globally to directly change lives in India.

By 2030 India will have the largest number of people in the world of college-going age – a staggering 140 million. Currently there are 736 universities in India educating 28.6 million students and to meet demand whilst improving quality, India will need at least another 1,500 institutions by 2030 to accommodate this huge influx of students.

On the path to becoming a 21st century global superpower however, India needs to place excellence, equal access, and employability at the heart of expanding its Higher Education system.
UK Higher Education institutions can play an important role in supporting this goal at every level.

In developing criteria to select foreign university entrance in to the Indian Higher Education market however, Indian policy makers have recommended that only “the top 200 in the world” be allowed to collaborate with the best Indian institutions.

In this report we analyse what a Top 200 approach means in practice and find it falls far short of meeting India’s needs.

Indian policy makers are right to only want the best the world has to offer. However, while International ranking systems are designed to help students choose where to study, they are not a suitable tool to judge which foreign universities have what India and Indians actually want. Frequently, universities that do not fall into the top 200 offer world-class courses, teaching, and facilities that directly meet India’s strategic needs.

Therefore, to truly unlock the potential of India’s young population, a more flexible approach is needed.

This latest report builds on our initial paper on ‘India’s Education Policy’ published in March 2018, and the UK India Business Council’s wider work in Higher Education connecting UK institutions to partners in India whether they be universities, businesses, or the all-important student.

You can read the full UKIBC ‘Beyond the Top 200’ report here and you can find regular updates on the progress of our Higher Education delegation here.

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