Sandeep Joshi

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday said a ‘national accreditation authority' would soon be set up for regulating foreign educational institutions in the country.

“A legislative proposal for regulating the entry and operation of foreign educational institutions in India is under consideration of the government. We want to set up a national accreditation authority for the same,” Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said in the Rajya Sabha.

Collaboration

“The Bill related to the issue will come soon… All institutions will be under the scanner of this authority, and only those providing quality education, will be given accreditation,” Mr. Sibal said while replying to supplementaries during the Question Hour. The Minister pointed out that despite best efforts, 69 institutions were still outside the purview of All-India Council for Technical Education. “We want to move towards regulation.”

Mr. Sibal also said that seven collaborations had been made between Indian and foreign institutions for imparting education, including technical education in the country. “I would like to inform that all inter-ministerial consultations are over for Foreign Education Providers Bill and it will soon go to the Cabinet.”

Asked about the reservation issue regarding the foreign institutions, Mr. Sibal said that as per a Supreme Court ruling, private and unaided institutions were not bound to provide reservation.

“Similarly, foreign education providers cannot be forced to give reservation.” The Minister also said the Centre would set up the National Education Finance Corporation (NEFC) to finance entities interested in setting up educational institutions.

“The NEFC will provide loans for infrastructure development and expansion of educational institutions, as well as for refinance facility for student loans.

"We are talking to the Planning Commission for it…If NEFC is established, private, aided and government institutions will have access to it for finance on the pattern of soft loans or at priority sector lending rate.”

“At the moment under the present policy framework, if you want to set up new educational institutions, banks lend at commercial rates as HRD [Human Resource Development] is not considered under infrastructure by the Supreme Court… It comes under charity, giving State governments the right to control fees. Once it is set up, loans would be available to interested entities like in case of physical infrastructure,” Mr. Sibal added.