Coming soon, an order on pact with universities of India’s neighbours
New Delhi, Oct 21: It would soon be mandatory for Indian universities to obtain prior permission from the government before signing any memorandum of understanding (MoU) with educational institutes of countries that share a land border with India.
This proposal was mooted, following a review on August 9 of China funded Confucius Centres attached to the universities in India. A review of the MoUs between the universities of India and China were also reviewed.
The Confucius Institutes have a tie up with the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute and the centres attached to the University of Mumbai and the School of Chinese Language, Ballygunge, Kolkata.
This would mean that similar permissions would need to be obtained for MoUs with countries such as Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The External Affairs Ministry was hesitant at first, but the Prime Minister's Office had no objection. This would mean that the education ministry will now implement the same through an order.
The Confucius Programme is funded by the Office of the Chinese Language Council International. This is linked to the United Front Work Department, which is now headed by Chinese President, Xi Jinping.
One of the key aspects behind this decision is that China's meddling in education is a threat to academic freedom. The Human Rights Watch in a report had said that the Confucius institutes are an extension of the Chinese government. Many teachers feel uncomfortable with the presence of such schools on the campus. They felt that the teaching could be compromised by them, HRW had also said.
An Intelligence Bureau official tells OneIndia that these institutes are security threats. The official also said that there are concerns around the growing influence of the Chinese in higher education and culture. Further the proximity of these institutes to the Chinese Communist Party also makes it a concern.