This week’s reading in the ACE Report focused on a myriad of issues concerning Internationalizing Higher Education Worldwide and highlighted additional key elements to build upon our previous readings.  For example, in the context of cross-border education, the concept of mobility as a cornerstone of international higher education policies was discussed as well as the crucial role of “other influencers” and the central role of national governments.  Cross-border education has been defined as “the movement of people, programmes, providers, curricula, projects, research and services, across national or regional jurisdictional borders” (ACE Report, p. 38).  This week’s reading highlighted the “importance of jurisdictional boundaries when it comes to policy frameworks and regulations” (ACE Report, p. 38).

While in previous readings, I had focused on the role of regional governments, particularly in Asia, this week emphasized the key role national governments play in regulating cross-border educational activity.  I was particularly intrigued by the regulatory policy example of India.  As the reading details, while India is one of the largest exporters of students seeking higher educational opportunities outside of India, the country has a definitive international higher education policy regulating cross-border activity within its own boundaries. This fact was somewhat surprising to me and I wonder if it fosters notions of reciprocal benefits and common values in the internationalization arena or stymies those goals.

For example, the ACE Report explains that India’s policy toward international higher education is not static, but instead “debated intensely” such that it does not allow independent branch campuses on Indian soil.  India requires that international higher education programs be carried out through partnering with Indian higher education institutions.  And these partnerships are themselves highly regulated such that there are “specific parameters” to govern them.  Most interesting to me was the requirement that Indian law requires foreign educational institutions to be accredited and been offering educational services for at least twenty years.  In addition, there are specific ranking requirements that must be met to for an international higher education institution to operate in India. (See generally, ACE Report, p. 41-42).

These various requirements seem like smart ones and would appear to mitigate against sham operations and ensure quality of educational services in the cross-border context that may be otherwise difficult to monitor.  However, do such specific requirements thwart flexibility in internationalization efforts and a lack of agility to develop robust and innovative partnerships?  An interesting question that has been framed for me in the ACE Reports analysis of India’s regulation in the cross-border context is how does a country’s national government ensure quality and standards in educational services against flexibility and reciprocal benefits in the cross-border context.

The ACE Report suggests that India may be moving toward more lax rules to make way for independent branch campuses and allow for foreign curricula and teachers.  But current criticism remains regarding stringent rules and the politicization of higher education in India (see  And there are no definitive calls for change to policy among the Association of Indian Universities’ International webpage (see

With respect to the role of national governments in cross-border issues and internationalization, India appears to be an interesting case study as a nation that heavily regulates in this space but may be at the cusp of certain, more open policy reform to make entering the Indian higher education market easier and more dynamic.  If such changes take place, it will be interesting to see how the internationalization trajectory in India develops and whether it can balance quality against collaboration and flexible regulatory requirements.

3 thoughts on “W3-Ace Report (Part II)

  1. Hello! I was also interested in this topic. My post discussed China’s policies towards branch campuses, which are very similar to India’s. I am curious as to how strict these laws will continue to be as internationalization in higher education continues to increase. As we’ve learned in the readings thus far, one of the big reasons universities open up branch campuses are to gain more revenue. But it’s not just the home university that benefits economically; these new institutions create many construction, administrative and operational jobs for the local population. In rapidly growing economies like China and India, it might be hard to turn down something that could bring large economic values to communities.

    Regardless of what happens, I’m glad you pointed out that it will be important for host countries to maintain some level of regulation on branch campus to prevent sham institutions from opening up. I can only imagine what kind of expansion U.S.-based for-profit colleges would pursue if they were not subject to the same types of regulations they face in the U.S. If for some reason India relaxes its regulations and allows the University of Phoenix to open up a branch campus, I will be more than a little skeptical of the quality of education its providing students!

  2. Thank you for your post. This is indeed an interesting topic to look into. As I was reading your post I thought of how these government restrictions might be connected to the overall history of the Indian economy and higher education. What I found while researching is that Indian government opened its doors to internationalization only in 1991 after week the exchange student programs for study abroad and fellowships started to go up. A number of Indian private higher education institutions have campuses abroad and the student and faculty exchange continues to grow. However, according to the Inside Higher Ed article Eldho Mathews, “Internationalization is not integrated into strategic planning at the majority of Indian higher educational institutions. Institutions alone cannot be blamed for this situation because currently India does not have a national policy governing the entry or operation of foreign higher educational institutions.” So is it the economic history of the country, the government’s fault for the hold back on the expansion of the internationalization? Will the Indian government continue to keep the internationalization in higher education national policies on the back burner or will it realize this topic needs to be entertained?


  3. I find it interesting that you point out the possibility of the strict regulations India has on foreign universities setting up branch campuses and how it could stymie their goals. If Indian universities were not as political as they seem (as the article you linked suggests), and instead focused more funding and energy in providing more autonomy to its universities, despite the strict regulations, I think they could still flourish in globalizing their higher education sector. Because it is understandable why they have such strict policies, since in my post, I touch upon how the host universities can be negatively impacted from the independent branch campuses of other countries. By requiring the partnership with a local institution, India can insure the inclusion of its own institutions. But since there seems to be much political influence on the institutions, India would need to change some of its policies, not only regarding other foreign institutions, but also its own. Although, even if India became more lax on foreign branch campuses, I don’t think it would be lax enough to disregard the ranking of the institution since India is trying to go up in the rankings as well.

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