US looking forward to Foreign Universities Bill

US looks forward to the passage of the Foreign Universities Bill in the Indian Parliament, a senior Obama Administration official said here.

Chennai: US looks forward to the passage of
the Foreign Universities Bill in the Indian Parliament as
American educational institutions want to engage India, a
senior Obama Administration official said here on Wednesday.

"We see tremendous progress but the very fact that the
bill is in front of Parliament, it just clarifies things
"In conversations with Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, he
informs me this bill is likely to pass through Parliament this
year. We are hopeful it is the case and we look forward to the
passage," Suresh Kumar, Assistant Secretary for Trade
Promotion and Director General of the US and Foreign
Commercial Service in the U.S. Commerce Department, said.

He told reporters that they would see the Bill as the
first step on how to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
in the education field.

"From the institutions in the US, there is tremendous
interest in engaging India.. so first thing they want is
clarity on what are the rules, structures and how do we
engage... as it refers to fee structure, for profit and
non-profit institutions and different business models which
will enable to attract more institutions. Clarity is the first
stage but there is work to be done.," he said.

The Foreign Educational Institution (Regulation of Entry
and Operation) Bill, 2010, proposes to allow foreign education
providers set up campuses in India and offer degrees.
Kumar, who is leading a 21 US Schools Mission to India,
recalled the stress laid by the governments of India and US,
especially in the wake of President Barack Obama`s visit to
the country and said the two were focusing on a
knowledge-based initiative.

Referring to India`s efforts to almost triple its higher
education enrolment ratio by 2020, he said his country was
willing to engage and work with India in this endeavour, "at a
policy level."

"Educational institutions in US are ready, willing and able
to engage with their Indian counterparts to make sure India
builds the infrastructure in the education sphere that it
requires to and continue to progress and grow at the rate it
has been," he noted.

To a question, he said that students from India should
check with authentic sources such as the Consular Offices
regarding their education in US.