DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS
22 December, 2020
6 Min Read
One of the recommendations of the National Education Policy 2020 was to allow universities in the top 100 categories of the World University Rankings to operate in India. Although this recommendation has generated a lot of discussions, one major gap is the inadequate focus on the potential role and suitability of international branch campuses (IBC) in the Indian environment.
An IBC is an entity owned, partly by a foreign higher education provider; operated in the name of the foreign education provider and provides an entire academic program, on-site leading to a degree awarded by the foreign education provider.
More than 300 International Branch Campuses are functioning in around 80 countries. According to data, a large number of these are operated by universities from the U.S., the U.K., Australia, France and Russia. Countries such as China, Malaysia, Qatar and Singapore host most of them. Interestingly, a few Indian private institutions also operate IBCs in countries such as Australia, Mauritius, Uzbekistan, Singapore, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
When considering the establishment of IBCs, it would be useful to review the experiences of not only the countries that have hosted them but also the top 100 universities that have ventured out of their home country to establish IBCs abroad. Such an approach would be helpful in mitigating potential risks.
The lessons from the impact of Australia’s Monash University’s branch campus in South Africa from 2001 to 2019 are one such example of use. Monash is a public university, currently among the top 100 universities in QS World University Ranking. It operates IBCs in China and Malaysia. The student population at MSA had increased to around 4,000 in 2018. While almost half of them were from South Africa, 40% of the remaining were from other African countries
South Africa’s branch campus strategy over the past two decades has been focused on a dualtrack approach in which the IBCs were promoted in parallel with the preexisting higher education system. The South African regulatory framework permits foreign universities to operate as private entities, legally registered as a company. Although IBCs in South Africa cannot use the ‘university’ tag, they can offer accredited degrees and diplomas. Monash was the first to obtain registration in 2001 to operate IBC in Johannesberg as ‘Monash South Africa (MSA)’.
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