Concerns of cultural degradation owing to the adoption of the English language were baseless. "In Kerala, all of your higher education is in English. It is 'the' language of higher education here. Yet, your culture is vibrant."
But Prof. Altbach cautioned the academia that top universities would not bother about local culture when they opened a branch campus in a foreign country. "The local culture is not their problem; it's yours," he said. He warned the academic community to be careful about foreign universities promoting branch campuses in India.
"Some American universities functioning abroad have only American names. I've never heard of some of the names that offer foreign degrees here," Prof. Altbach said.
He said it was highly unlikely that top - class foreign universities would venture into India. Multi nationalisation of education, he said, is largely to make money.
Prof. Altbach said the challenge of India's higher education, at present, was to improve quality.
"India has extremely small top - class internationally competitive higher educational institutions," he said, adding that the best option for India's institutions would be to enter into partnership deals with foreign universities as was being done in China.
He hinted at the impracticality of franchising in higher education. "It's not like opening a McDonald's franchise in India," he said. Prof. Altbach said that with the disappearance of the Cold War, neo - colonialism had shifted from governments to academic institutions and multinational companies.
Prof. Altbach said that emigration was a major reason for internationalisation of higher education. "We live in an era of migration of academic talent. It largely flows from developing countries to the developed world."
The Ascent of English