Higher Education Reform: Government Makes It Easy For Foreign Faculty To Teach At IITsIIT Kharagpur (Saikat Sarkar/Wikimedia Commons)

The National Democratic Alliance government has been keen on reforming the higher education sector. A part of its goal with Indian universities has been to create “world class institutions”, as NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya called them earlier this year.

Now, in what seems like a continuing theme of internationalising higher education in India, the government has cleared the way for Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to hire foreign faculty on their own accord, that is, without having to take prior political clearance to have them teach in India.

This business of taking permission before hiring foreign faculty has been a pain in the neck for both Indian universities as well as the international faculty who have showed interest in teaching in India.

The Economic Times reports:

IITs have repeatedly complained that the existing regulatory regime which calls for prior approval both from MEA as well as MHA for every single foreign faculty appointment has led to inordinate delays in clearance of proposals with waiting time ranging from 6 to 18 months. Many foreign academics have even refused to work in Indian institutions on account of this tedious and unpredictable procedure.

Now, this hurdle has been cleared.

The visa regime for Indian institutes holding scientific conferences, in addition to visiting academics, will especially be relaxed. The only exception to this relaxation of regulation is faculty coming in from Prior Requirement Countries.

A consensus emerged on this issue between the Home, HRD and External Affairs ministries during a meeting in early October. It was agreed that the antecedents of every person applying for work in India are anyway checked during the granting of visa.

For now, since a new regulatory system still needs to be put in place, the external affairs ministry will take up the job of clearing all conference proposals and will do it within eight weeks.

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