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«TRADE IN EDUCATION SERVICES UNDER WTO REGIME View Points & Key Suggestions Higher Education Unit National Institute of Educational Planning and ...»

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NIEPA Cell on WTO: GATS-Education Services



View Points & Key Suggestions

Higher Education Unit

National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration

17-B, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi – 110 016

December 2004


The Ministry of Human Resource and Development has constituted a Technical

Committee to discuss various aspects of Trade in Educational Services under WTO regime and to formulate position of India. A nodal agency has been setup in NIEPA to facilitate the deliberations of the meetings and to provide research input relating to the above issues. There has so far been 21 Technical Committee Meetings relating to the various aspects of Trade in Education Services under WTO regime.

The present document “View Points and Key Suggestions on Trade in Education Services under the WTO Regime” contains the deliberations of some of these meetings.

The views that have emerged are a part of a wider consultative process in which Vice Chancellors of Universities, Directors of IITs, IIMs, Eminent Experts, Chair Persons and Vice Chair Persons of State Councils of Higher Education and Representative of Ministry of Human Resource Development have time to time given their view points and suggestions. The document contains a summary of views and suggestions on Law Education, Technical Education, Management Education and General Higher Education including rural institutions of Higher Education. Besides it also contains the views on the movement of natural persons under GATS I hope the viewpoints presented would provide the background for understanding India’s stand on the opening of higher education. Needless to say that much more research input is necessary for taking a final decision on the issue.

Prof. Sudhanshu Bhushan Senior Fellow & Incharge Higher Education Unit NIEPA December 2004 Contents Date Page No.

11th September, 2001 National level meeting of vice-chairpersons of state 1 councils of higher education, vice-chancellors, and experts on trade in education services under the WTO regime Law education group on Trade in education services under 11th February, 2002 5 WTO regime Technical education group on Trade in education services 20th February, 20026 under WTO regime Higher education group on Trade in education services 26th February, 2002 11 under WTO regime Management education group on trade in education 11th March, 2002 16 services under WTO regime Rural institutions of Higher Education on trade in 13th March, 2002 19 education services under WTO regime





–  –  –

Introduction In order to discuss the various aspects of Trade in Education Services under WTO Regime and to formulate position of India, a Technical Committee has been constituted and a nodal agency has been set up in NIEPA. A background paper on this subject has also been prepared. In order to have wider consultation and views, a meeting of Chairpersons and Vice-Chairpersons of State Councils of Higher Education, Vice Chancellors of Universities, Director of Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Management (IIMs), Eminent Experts and representatives of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) was held on 11th September, 2001 at India International Centre. Fifty-five persons participated in the meeting.

Inauguration The meeting was inaugurated by Shri M.K. Kaw, Education Secretary, Ministry of HRD. In his inaugural address, Mr. Kaw emphasized that primary, secondary and adult education is the responsibility of the Government and therefore, cannot be opened for foreign investment and participation. Under consideration, therefore, is higher education only. Here also care has to be taken to safeguard country’s interest. In order to encourage foreign students to study in India, we have increased the quota of seats for NRI/PIO foreign students in professional colleges by 15 percent. We have also launched a website through Ed.Cil to popularize the higher education outside India. He also said India should exert its utmost to ensure that our accreditation and equivalence bodies are accepted internationally. He further said that, in order to be dynamic, we should continuously reform curriculum, make it more flexible and modular. We should also integrate formal, non-formal and open university system. This, he said, would call for significant change in management system. He also hoped that India will accept this challenge and will be ready to interact with the rest of the world.

Earlier Prof. B.P. Khandelwal, Director, NIEPA, welcomed the Secretary, MHRD and delegates. He highlighted the issues and tensions arising from this new concept of trade in education. Mrs. Bela Banerji, Joint Secretary, M/HRD, in her introductory remarks said that if a negotiation in Education Services takes place, then India should have well informed national position in place. She said present meeting is a step in this direction. Prof. G.D. Sharma, Senior Fellow & Head, Higher Education Unit, NIEPA, gave background & highlights of the meeting. He emphasized on open and free deliberations on this aspect. He also stressed for an intensive sector study to formulate the policy options.

Presentation on Theme Trade in Services: Shri R.P. Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, presented the details of WTO arrangements for trade in services. He spelt out basic concepts, procedures and developments in trade in services. He explained the concept of MFN, National Treatment and Economic Needs and Modes of trade namely; Cross Border Supply, Commercial Presence, Consumption Abroad, Presence of Natural Person. He also highlighted the commitment made in service sector and emphasized the voluntary nature of request offers. He said that there is no compulsion or bindings on the country to commit the education sector. He, however, emphasized that as we are signatories to WTO, it may be important to workout the areas which are of national interest for trade in education services. On this aspect, he said, we would be guided by opinion, views, study reports, analysis of experts and views of Ministry of HRD.

Trade in Educational Services: Prof. G.D. Sharma presented the concept of Trade in Education Service. He spelt out five levels of education sector considered for trade namely, primary education, secondary education, higher education, adult education and other education. He also pointed out the number of countries, which have made commitments. He shared quick findings about the extent of preparedness of India in the Sector of Higher Education. In the end, issues, namely; political economy, economic efficiency, centre-state relationship, academic aspects and sector competitiveness were highlighted by him for further discussion.

Deliberations The sessions on deliberations on the subject were chaired by Prof. M.

Anandakrishnan, Vice-Chairman of T.N. State Council of Higher Education, Prof.

Pabitra Sarkar, Vice-Chairman, W.B. State Council of Higher Education and Prof. Arun Nigaveker, Vice-Chairman, University Grants Commission respectively. The views

expressed by delegates may be put in the following headings:

• Level playing field,

• Nature of education services,

• Demand of higher education abroad,

• A thorough analysis of advantage and disadvantages, and

• Socio-cultural and economic implications of trade in education.

Level Playing Field: A good number of delegates expressed their views that there is a need for internal liberalization by way of allowing universities to tie up, set up their campuses, within and outside the country, providing support for quality infrastructure and other required support to attain a level playing field, before the system is opened to international competition. The issue of level playing field in terms of enhancing quality of programmes of studies, quality of infrastructure, teacher training and other related aspects was stressed by most of the delegates.

Nature of Education Services: It was also pointed out that in India and most of the countries education is social/merit good. Public exchequer supports the cost of education. Students pay a nominal fees. Many states in India have made school education free. The private formal education providers also work under charitable trust or non-profit making societies. It was pointed out that recently non-degree and nonformal private providers have come up into existence and these work under Companies Act. These are able to provide education for profit. But their number is relatively small.

When we are thinking of trade in education service, one has to clearly spell out the aspect of pricing & trade. Some national and state level clarification would be needed on this aspect.

It is further stated that in USA, there are private universities, but India does not have one. In UK, there are public institutions, but they are allowed to set up ties with private companies. These aspect needs to be carefully examined in the above context.

• Demand of Higher Education Abroad: Many delegates pointed out that there are many countries seeking India’s help to set up higher education institutions/campuses abroad. There are many countries requesting India for (a) English and Foreign languages programmes, (b) Management Education, and (c) Technical Education Programmes. Many students are interested in Indian arts, literature and culture. India needs to open up and strengthen itself to provide education to those who are wanting it. Whether this could be done autonomously or under WTO regime, needs to be studied carefully. However, areas where India has an advantage and can offer its expertise to other countries should be strengthened and allowed to be marketed. Thorough Analysis: It was stated that the available data/reports are inadequate to assess advantages and disadvantages of Trade in Higher Education. There is a need to gather data on various aspects particularly focusing various modes of education at various levels. This is particularly needed at the higher education level. There is a need for an in-depth sector study to find out strength and weaknesses, surplus and deficits before the system of higher education is opened to global competition or any negotiations are entered with WTO. The

thorough study should specifically focus on:

o Technical Education o Management Education o Law Education o General Higher EducationSocio-Cultural Implications: A good number of the delegates also pointed out that the socio-cultural implications of opening the education system globally and making education service for profit needs to be carefully examined. Even making it a full cost paying service has caused social and cultural trauma in many countries including developed countries. Making open to world competition with high cost of education might cause further social-cultural problems. These may be un-manageable in the developing countries and particularly in India. Global competition, full or profit cost pricing of education has several socio-cultural implications and may adversely affect the Constitutional obligations of equity. Therefore, these aspects need to be examined carefully before formulation of response of India on this aspect.

• Session Chairman’s RemarksProf. Anandakrishnan in his Chairman’s remarks said that it is good that we are discussing the issue in time. Such discussions should also take place in different regions of the country. Concrete proposals should be worked out and discussed. Professor Pabitra Sarkar in his Chairman’s remarks said that before taking any decision a thorough analysis of pros and cons be worked out. This should be done keeping in view the India’s socio-political and cultural situations and the status of development of higher education in India. Prof. Arun Nigavekar in his Chairman’s remarks said that there are several areas where India has strength. What we have to ensure is to support the universities and provide them a level playing field.Summing-up RemarksProf. Sharma in his summing up remarks said that the following seems to have emerged: (a) India should work-out plans and strategies to provide level playing field to institutions of higher education; (b) identify the areas of strength where India has advantage; (c) work out detailed sector study with pros and cons; (d) work out socio-cultural and economic implications of opening of the sector of education service; and (e) our response should be well thought-out and effectively articulated with proper safeguards/limitations. Proposed ActionsTowards this end it was decided that:The delegates may like to discuss this issue with their colleagues in the universities or hold similar seminars/meetings at regional level. MHRD may be approached for supporting regional seminars/meetings. Outcome of the Seminars/meetings may send to NIEPA. As suggested by Mrs. Banerji and delegates

following Sub-Technical Committees are constituted to discuss the issues in depth:

• Technical Education,

• Management Education,

• Law Education, and

• General Higher Education.

An in-depth study of the sector may be carried out at the earliest.

The list of members is given in Annexure I.

–  –  –

• The group unanimously emphasized that more focus should be made on capacity building in “Legal Education”.

• However, India needs some time for accomplishing this task and therefore it should not rush to enter into some agreements.

• The area for capacity building should also be identified.

• It is time for the Indian Law Schools to strengthen the content of Legal Education system in terms of syllabi, faculty and other infrastructure.

• The mutual recognition agreements should also not be pushed ahead; we need time to develop Legal Education before we enter into this.

• As a prelude to this, the law school should have joint programmes with foreign Universities.

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