UGC Chairman, Australian minister discuss regulations on foreign university campuses in India

Wollongong university's GIFT City campus be operational by year-end, other Australian universities consider collaboration for campuses in India said Clare.

UGC Chairman, Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar and  Australian education minister, Jason Clare. (Picture: Official Twitter)UGC Chairman, Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar and Australian education minister, Jason Clare. (Picture: Official Twitter)

Team Careers360 | March 2, 2023 | 08:14 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Australian education minister, Jason Clare visited the University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi with a 30-member team for a meeting with the UGC chairman, Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar to discuss on how reforms are being implemented in the Indian higher education system.

The team consisted of over vice-chancellors from 10 Australian universities and other higher education officials. The group discussed the UGC draft regulations on foreign universities in India in detail. "We agreed that these regulations provide a great opportunity for India and Australia to work together in not only training the students but also working on joint collaborative research work," said UGC chairman a tweet.

Also Read | Foreign universities can ‘repatriate profit’ from campuses in GIFT City: IFSCA regulations

India's effort in establishing a national digital university to provide high-quality education and the need to utilise digital technology in higher education was also discussed. According the UGC chairman's tweet, Clare showed interest in possibility of establishing Australian university campuses in India.

Also Read | UGC’s foreign university campus policy ‘undermines Indian institutions’: Academics

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday announced that two Australian public varsities -- Wollongong and Deakin -- would open their campuses in GIFT City. According to Clare, the University of Wollongong's campus in Gujarat's GIFT City is expected to be operational by the end of this year and admit the first batch of students. The campus will initially start "small" and offer finance and STEM courses.

The University of Wollongong has signed a Letter of Intent with the Indian government to work on the development of the campus. We are hopeful that the campus in GIFT City will be operational by the end of this year and start admitting the first batch of students. It will be the first Australian university to take the precious opportunity," Clare told PTI on the sidelines of an event.

Also Read | India-Australia visit to boost higher education sector, deepen engagements to empower youth

"It will start small and grow over time. Initially, there will be finance and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses," he said. The minister, however, did not share a timeline for setting up of the Deakin University campus.

"More details will be available during Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's visit next week," he said. Responding to a question on Australia's plan for opening campuses in India beyond GIFT City, Clare said three or four Australian varsities might come together to open a joint campus in India. "Some universities are also thinking about collaborating with an existing university or institute instead of (setting up) a standalone campus in India," he said.

Also Read | New UGC guidelines have helped streamline foreign partnerships for universities

Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) City is an emerging global financial and IT services hub, a first-of-its-kind in India, designed to be on or above par with globally benchmarked business districts. According to UGC draft regulations for foreign universities in India, registrations would be granted based on the recommendations of a committee of experts. At first instance, in-principle approval to the applicant will give it 180 days to set up the required infrastructure and engage necessary manpower, among others.

(Inputs from PTI)

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