These shops will further distort elitist educational structure: Basudeb Acharia

Amid opposition by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the government on Monday introduced the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill in the Lok Sabha.

The Bill, which seeks to regulate the entry and operation of foreign education institutions, had been pending for the past four years due to stiff opposition from the Left. It was also sent to the Committee of Secretaries last year and eventually cleared by the Cabinet in March.

Basudeb Acharia of the CPI (M) said allowing “foreign teaching shops” would further “distort the already elitist educational structure in the country” and make education more commercial. The Bill would be detrimental to the interests of the States as education is in the Concurrent List.

Speaker Meira Kumar allowed Mr. Sibal to introduce the Bill after he pointed out that opposition at the introduction stage was “not valid.”

According to the Bill, the enactment of legislation regulating entry and operation of all foreign institutions is necessary to maintain the standards of higher education in the country as well as protect the interests of students, and in the public interest.

The foreign institution shall not impart education unless it is recognised and notified by the Centre, and offers education which is in conformity with the standards laid down by the statutory authority in India and those offered by it to its students enrolled on its main campus, in addition to maintaining a corpus fund of not less than Rs. 50 crore.

The Centre can refuse to recognise and notify an institution if it is not in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the state, friendly relations with other foreign states, the public order, decency or morality; or for reasons of sensitivity of the location. The government can withdraw recognition and rescind the notification on grounds of violation of the provisions of the proposed legislation.

Educational tribunals

The government also introduced three more bills on higher education including the one that seeks to provide for establishment of educational tribunals for effective and expeditious adjudication of disputes involving teachers and other employees and other stakeholders, and to adjudicate penalties for unfair practices.

All the four Bills were tabled and subsequently referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee even as there was chaos in the House over 2G spectrum allocation and a demand for a caste-based census. The Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill, 2010 is to provide for prohibition of certain unfair practices and to protect the interests of students.

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