UGC proposes framework for Joint, Dual, Twinning Program with Foreign Educational Institution
Furthering the objective of the NEP to recognise the credits acquired in foreign countries for awarding degrees, and the budget announcement to proposing to provide regulatory mechanism to permit dual degrees, joint degrees and twinning arrangements, UGC based on a Committee Report has proposed draft UGC (Academic collaboration between Indian and foreign Higher Education Institutions to offer Joint Degree, Dual Degree and Twinning Programme) Regulations, 2021.
The Draft Regulations proposes Academic Collaboration in nature of (i) Credit Recognition and Transfer; (ii) Joint Degree Programme; (iii)Dual Degree Programme; (iv)Twinning arrangement.
While the credit Recognition and transfer, i.e, recognising, quantifying and including the credit earned abroad for completion of a program has been in practice in some or the other manner, which is now proposed to be formalised.
Twinning Arrangement, has been one of the most controversial area, which has now been addressed. Historically under this arrangement, students enrolled with an Indian higher education institution undertake programme of study partly in India, and partly in the foreign higher education institution. UGC now proposed that under such degree shall be awarded by the Indian higher education institution only. There is caution also placed by UGC that the courses should not overlap and that the transcript should have remark indicating that the student has taken certain modules at the partner institution.
Joint Program which has been provided in other Regulations also is proposed to be reformed. UGC has proposed that under such arrangement, curriculum shall be designed jointly by the collaborating Indian and Foreign Higher Educational Institutions and the Degree is awarded by the Indian Higher Education institution and the collaborating foreign higher education institution with a single Certificate bearing the crests and logo of both collaborating institutions.
Dual Degree Programme is a significant departure. It encompasses, be degrees which may be conferred by the Indian and foreign higher education institutions, separately and simultaneously, upon completion of degree requirements of both the institutions. In the interest of the students, UGC has proposed that the student shall submit to only one examination and evaluation process for each of the courses by the institutions in which he/she has registered for that course and that Provisions for exit pathways shall be available to students who are unable to complete the Dual Degree programme.
Further, UGC has proposed that the Institutions which enter into MoU for academic collaboration, depending on their NAAC Grade / NIRF Ranking the Academic Collaboration institution will be permitted to conduct the activities through two modes i.e. (1) Automatic mode and (2) Approval mode.
An Institution to be considered under Automatic mode, the Indian Institution either be accredited by NAAC with a minimum score of 3.01 or must figure in the top 100 in University category of NIRF. Similarly, the foreign higher education institution must figure in top 500 of Times Higher Education or QS World University ranking. UGC on receipt of information and verification of information, shall grant approval automatically without any further processing.
Any other Institution will have to follow Approval Mode. In this process, on receipt of proposal, Expert Committee of UGC will consider the proposal and submit its recommendation to UGC, which will take final decision in the matter. In either case, the approval shall be granted for a period of 5 academic years at a time.
The Institutions have been advised to mandatorily follow this process, failing UGC has been empowered to take penal action against the erring Institutions.
However, the UGC has asked for ideas or comments or suggestions or feed backs from the Stakeholders on the draft Regulations. It has been placed in the public domain and had specified their e-mail id to send the same by March 5, 2021.
The Draft Regulations, will replace, University Grants Commission (Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2016. Prior to the 2016 Regulations, The University Grants Commission (Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012 was in force.
Ritesh Samartha |Research Intern | EduLegaL
Well, it is the not the situation that these are the first Regulations governing this field. We had Regulations in 2012 which was modified in 2016. This Regulations certainly expands on the earlier Regulations.
But to exclude “online and distance learning programs”, when the mode of education is gradually shifting in online mode does not sound to reason.
Secondly, UGC has proposed to allow “Dual Degree” in association with Foreign Institution, while the same is not permissible in India till date for a student to acquire “Dual Degree” in the same mode. Why this discrimination?
Over all this is good step forward !
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