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India: UGC sets standards for tie-ups with foreign varsities

Foreign institutes must figure in the list of top 500 global educational institutions

The University Grants Commission (Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012 approved in June will ensure that academic collaboration between Indian and foreign educational institutes followed the highest standards.

The regulations mandate that only institutes graded ‘A’ by the National Board of Accreditation or the National Assessment and Accreditation Council can collaborate with foreign institutes, which, in turn, must figure in the list of top 500 global educational institutes, as ranked by the Times Higher Education Rankings or the Shanghai Rankings.

Students will not only get a degree from the Indian institute where they are enrolled but also from the collaborating foreign institute, if it is inclined to give one. No programme of study and research shall be offered which is against national security and territorial integrity of India.

The two institutions (Indian and its foreign collaborator) will have to enter into an agreement which will have to be approved by the UGC before it is implemented. The approval will be valid for 5 years and the Commission may review the progress made and periodically inform the agencies concerned about the results of such a review. After the expiry of this period, the UGC may extend or withdraw the approval or impose such other conditions for extension, as may deem fit. The regulations make clear that no franchise arrangement will be allowed.

Existing tie-ups through the Indian institutions will have six months to meet the new eligibility criteria. In case they fail to do so, they will have to terminate the agreements. Institutions that refuse to comply with the new regulations can lose UGC funding, de-recognition in case of a deemed university, and public notices announcing the ineligibility of the institution to enter into collaborations with foreign partners.

Disputes arising in relation to collaboration will be settled as per Indian laws.

As per a 2006 study by the Association of Indian Universities, over 340 institutes were offering courses in collaboration with foreign institutes. The UGC regulations seek to bring some order in area to protect students by ensuring that only genuine academic collaborations are encouraged. (The Hindu)

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