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Foreign University Collaboration to Change Now: HRD Ministry

HRD Ministry has announced new UGC conditions which will apply to any Indian institutue seeking foreign academic collaboration and award of joint degrees.

Indian Universities and Colleges need to approach 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 though the name of the collaborating FEI can be indicated on the degree, the logo and primacy should be of the Indian institution, said the ministry. Credits from collaborating FEI when jointly signed by the IEI shall form part of the transcript and FEI may also sign the transcript/credit issued by the IEI.

The step has been taken by the UGC 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, said the ministry.

The UGC’s earlier regulations issued in 2012 will be amended now. For students seeking to study abroad, new measures mean lower cost to achieve that as the new provision will offer academic mobility through acquiring of credits and study at reputed institution abroad, said the statement. The dedicated UGC portal to receive applications and convey approvals will be launched shortly by the UGC.

However, the new norms will not be applicable to 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 from this measure now.

The Regulations stipulate that only IEIs with ‘A’ grade or threshold accreditation 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 bench mark 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, said the ministry that regulates and controls UGC.

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