Imagine how the next coming 30 years might look if India were to allow the creation of a “Princeton Mumbai,” a “Harvard Hyderabad” or an “Oxford Kolkata.”
Due to COVID-19, all the educational institutions are organizing online lectures for the current semester as a one-time policy. Where the world is uncertain about the long term future, the Government of India is planning to encourage the top 100 universities in the world to enter and establish their one of the premises and presence in India.
Not all the prestigious and famous universities will be assisting in India, but many other top 100 universities are there who would agree to begin their operations in India. Even if Harvard would hesitate, the University of Texas at Austin, Georgia Institute of Technology, and many other universities near Singapore would not. All the foreign universities that would begin its operation in India and in South Asia would rise in reputation.
The universities that open significant branches in India thus would become among the greatest in the world not the top 100, but the top 50. India could find itself in a situation much like that of the U.S. in 1900, when most American universities and scholars lagged behind those of Europe but now have over taken it harshly. Competitive pressures would kick in, and the top schools that firstly were unwilling to enter India would find themselves drawn in.
You might wonder whether India actually needs all of these foreign branches, when it has some superb schools of its own, for instance the various Indian Institutes of Technology. In my fantasy, some Indian institutions of higher education will be encouraged to improve and do better & will force Indian education system to upgrade and uplift.
Yet, many brilliant Indians will find it attractive to attend a branch of Harvard or Yale. Furthermore, the top foreign schools may form alliances with Indian institutions (as Yale has done in Singapore), giving students the best aboard and worldwide opportunities.
This will make our future better. Over time, the population of Indian alumni of prestigious U.S. universities will augment, relative to those who studied and graduated in America. America’s top schools thus will become engines of opportunity. It might also become obvious that the students attending in the U.S. are underperforming their Indian counterparts. What would be the better way and chance then this to light a competitive fire under the current dominant institutions?
Best of all, America’s top schools would learn they could open their doors to many more students, while heightening the reach and reputation of their institutions on the whole. The success of Princeton Mumbai would lead to a much superior Princeton than in New Jersey. After all, if they can admit more qualified students from Kerala, doesn’t it follow that they can also accept more high-achieving kids from suburban Maryland? Or even, say, Detroit?
As I said, this is all a fantasy. Indian administration can be frustrating, Indian politics can be hostile, and many talented faculties still seek to leave India rather than to move there, among other problems. Still, especially considering the implications of a rising India, this future no longer sounds crazy. An Indian expansion could be the best thing to happen to American and British higher education in this century.