Indian Universities and Colleges, having the highest grade of accreditation/ threshold accreditation, will now be able to apply online to the University Grants Commission (UGC) for starting twinning and collaborative arrangement with quality Foreign Educational Institutions (FEIs) in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes leading to the award of a degree. The degree will be awarded by the Indian Educational Institutions (IEIs) alone; joint degrees are not permitted. However, the name of the collaborating FEI can be indicated on the degree, the logo and primacy being of the Indian institution. Credits from collaborating FEI when jointly signed by the IEI shall form part of the transcript. FEI may also sign the transcript/credit issued by the IEI.
Announcing this the Minister of Human Resource Development mentioned that this step has been taken by the UGC today in order to promote foreign collaborations with a view to increasing synergy between Indian and foreign academic institutions, to offer students additional choices, improve curriculum and the delivery of knowledge and educational content.
The UGC has superseded its 2012 regulations with its new regulations for promoting and maintaining standards of academic collaboration between Indian and Foreign Higher Educational Institutions. The regulations will be notified shortly by the Ministry. The amendments respond to a felt and aspirational need expressed by students to engage with FEIs of repute, study in part in these institutions and acquire a formal recognition of this in the degree and related transcripts.
For students wishing to study abroad, for the experience, exposure and academic benefits, this represents lower cost to achieve that. This will offer unprecedented academic mobility through acquiring of credits and study at reputed institution abroad.
The dedicated UGC portal to receive applications and convey approvals will be launched shortly by the UGC. Timelines have been stipulated at different stages of the application.
The regulations do not cover technical institutions, for which AICTE will leverage and bring out similar methodology and facilitative regulations. Universities/institutions that are recognized by UGC and FEIs intending to collaborate will be benefitted.
The Regulations stipulate that only IEIs with ‘A’ grade or threshold accreditation (or IEIs other than governing institutions) should have experience of 6 years or at least 2 batches passed out and similarly ‘A’ grade or threshold level accreditation if the IEIs in their own country will be eligible for collaboration. A benchmark for quality has therefore been set for the collaborations. To maintain academic credibility and seriousness, a minimum duration of collaboration has been specified under one semester for postgraduate degree and 2 semesters for undergraduate degree.
The UGC will examine complaints relating to academic collaborations being run in violation of these regulations and if prima-facie evidence of fraud is found, it will inform Central and State authorities for appropriate action under the framework of the law, including penal action.