Education plays a very important role in framing the economic and social setup of any nation

International Trade

Education plays a very important role in framing the economic and social setup of any nation

WTO-GATS Regime and Future of Higher Education In India (20 Marks)

Education plays a very important role in framing the economic and social setup of any nation. Though Education is largely a governmental activity in India, things are changing under the WTO – GATS regime. India signed the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement including General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in 1994 as part of a single undertaking, which came into force in 1995. GATS established a multilateral framework of principles and rules for trade in services with the objective of expansion and progressive liberalization of such trade as a means of promoting economic growth of all trading partners and for further development of developing countries. It provides for disciplines on transparency, Most Favored Nations (MFN) treatment, market access and national treatment for all the member nations. Education is one of the twelve services included in the Uruguay Round. Under GATS, education services are classified into five main categories, which include: Primary Education Services, Secondary Education Services, Higher Education Services, Adult and continuing Education Services and Other Education Services. India has the second largest higher education sector in the world with 8.8 million students, who constitute seven percent of the total population. The number of universities in India has increased from 18 (at the time of independence) to 306 (including 18 central universities, 186 other universities, 5 institutions established under State Legislature Act, 84 deemed universities and 13 institutes of national importance) government ones and about 150 private ones. Open universities are nine in number while women universities are five. They employ a total force of more than four hundred thousand teachers. Every year 66,000 Indian students are going abroad (mainly to US and UK), termed as import of services; in contrast to this, only 6000 foreign students are coming to India to pursue higher education (and that too from other developing countries or least developed countries) termed as export of services. With such imbalance in import and export of higher education services, the question arises ‘is India really ready for free trade regime in higher education?’

Answer the following question.


Q1. To what an extent WTO-GATS Regime has influenced higher education in India?

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