Joint, Dual Degrees With Foreign Universities: What Are the New UGC Regulations?
The UGC approved new regulations on joint and dual degree courses with foreign universities.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) approved regulations that allow Indian and foreign universities to offer dual, twinning and joint degrees in the same disciplines and subject areas.
This means that Indian higher educational institutions can now collaborate with foreign institutes, and students enrolled in a specific programme will be able to visit the universities abroad to pursue a course for a specific period.
While two of the three programmes were in existence before, the amendments make collaborations in between the institutes easier and more flexible than before.
What is a joint-degree programme?
A joint degree programme is a collaborative initiative between an Indian institute and a foreign institute. The joint programme will be designed by both the collaborating institutes and upon completion of the course, a single joint degree certificate will be granted to the student.
The student will have to complete atleast 30 percent of their course requirement, from the foreign institute under this arrangement.
They could complete more than 30 percent of the course from the concerned institute, but this depends on the arrangement between the two institutes.
What is the dual-degree programme and how is that different from the joint-degree programme?
The dual-degree programme will be offered by two institutes in the same subject area and level. The degrees however, will be provided separately and simultaneously from both the institutes.
The UGC clarified that the dual degree does not mean a degree in two different courses.
Here too, the student will have to complete atleast 30 percent of the course credits. This arrangement will allow students to obtain certificates from both the institutes, unlike the joint-degree programme which will give a joint certificate.
What is the twinning programme?
The twinning programme is an arrangement where students can complete part of their course in a foreign institute. Students can obtain upto 30 percent of their course credit from the foreign institute. This would mean that students will have to stay in the respective institute for a semester or two.
The foreign institute will provide the student with a certificate stating that they have completed credits worth 30 percent of the coursework. However, the degree will be given by the Indian institute.
Students enrolled in a foreign institute that has collaborated with an Indian university, will also be able to come to India to complete part of their course.
Which institutes can provide these programmes?
The UGC said that any institution that is accredited by the National Assessment and Accredition Council (NAAC) with a minimum of 3.01 or is in the top 100 in the university category of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) or is an institution of eminence is eligible to provide these programmes to its students.
The foreign institutes that are providing the courses have to be in the top 500 of the Times Higher Education ranking or QS World University ranking. Other institutes can also choose to offer the programmes but they will require a UGC approval before doing so.
Courses offered online and in the open distance learning mode cannot offer the said programmes.
What is different under the new amendments?
Earlier, there used to be a more elaborate process for approvals. The regulatory body said that a huge chunk of the process will be left to the wisdom of the higher educational institution to come up with the collaboration.
Secondly, joint degrees are being introduced now and was not permitted earlier.
The two institutes will be working out a fee structure in order to make the programmes affordable for the students. The UGC stated that no such fee structure is mentioned under the amendments because they do not want to micromanage the collaborations. However, the two institutes can provide scholarships for students who may not be able to afford the fees of the foreign institutes.
The new regulations will be put up in the UGC website soon. Watch out this space for more information.
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