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Will Foreign Varsities Poach IIT, IIM Professors?
si Team
Monday, March 29, 2010
The meagerly paid professors at the country’s top academic institutes like IITs and IIMs may soon be poached by foreign universities, after the government cleared a proposal to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India. This step is expected to provide quality education in the country and reduce the flow of Indian students abroad.

The bill, which will now be tabled in parliament for its approval, has provisions to regulate the entry and operation of foreign institutions, which will set up campus and offer degrees in India. “This is a milestone, which will enhance choices, increase competition, and benchmark quality,” said Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Atlanta-based Georgia Tech University was the first one to take the initiative to have its own campus in India. The University bought 250 acres of land in Hyderabad in the year 2008. It did something even more astonishing shortly afterwards: it invited its own faculty members to quit their jobs and consider moving to India. A professor of the university who requested for anonymity, says, “Each one of us got a formal note. Even more amazingly, he added, all of us were offered the same salary that we were getting in Georgia. It was clearly an offer very few would even think of refusing; given the cost of living in India, it would straightaway translate into a fortune, if not a killing.’’

With the government paving the way for foreign universities to set up campuses in India, it can only mean one thing: poorly-paid academic superstars of the country’s top institutes can finally expect to get value for their work. In other words, lowly-paid teachers will be poached. The effort is part of the central government’s continued focus on education reform. Sibal, who sounded elated, has been pushing for this since he took over the ministry last year. The minister, too, has been in touch with several top universities in the US and the UK about such a move.
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