Educational institutions looking to partner with universities abroad for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes can now approach the University Grants Commission (UGC) directly for permission, as per the amended regulation for collaboration between Indian and foreign institutions.
Earlier, under the UGC (Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic Collaborations between Indian and Foreign Educational Institutes) Regulations 2012, only foreign universities were allowed to apply for academic collaboration with Indian counterparts. The higher education regulator tweaked the rules on Wednesday to make only Indian universities and colleges eligible for permission.
HRD Minister Smriti Irani attributed the change to the poor response from foreign universities. The UGC has not received even a single proposal for partnership from foreign institutions under the old regulation, she informed reporters on Wednesday. “Since they are not familiar with our rules and regulations, it seems they find the process very cumbersome. Hence the poor response. So, it was decided that onus of seeking permission should be on the Indian partner,” a senior ministry official told The Indian Express.
Under the amended regulation, only local institutions which have secured the highest accreditation grade from National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAC) are eligible for academic partnership. Similarly, the partnering university abroad should have also secured the best grade from the accreditation agency in its home country.
It is now mandatory for Indian institutions entering into a twinning arrangement to send their students to study at the offshore university for at least two semesters in case of an undergraduate programme and one semester in a postgraduate programme. Although the regulations do not allow the collaborating partners to offer a joint degree, the degree awarded by the Indian university at the end of the programme will also bear the name and insignia of the foreign university. The transcripts carrying the credits earned in India and abroad will have to be signed jointly by both institutions.
Indian educational institutions which already have a collaborative arrangement will have to apply for permission within six months of the new regulations being notified. These institutions have a year’s time to secure ‘A’ grade from NAAC. The regulations will be notified soon.
Irani further added that under the new rules, all applications received by the UGC will be acknowledged within a month and processed in two months. The applications will be judged based on the infrastructural facilities, student-faculty ratio, course fee and curriculum of the Indian and foreign partner. A committee consisting of experts, including a representative of the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) look into the grading of foreign universities, will vet all collaboration proposals.