Now, Indian and foreign colleges can offer joint, dual, twinning degrees: What is this and how will it work?

There’s good news for students across the country! The University Grants Commission (UGC) on Tuesday approved regulations where Indian and ...

There’s good news for students across the country!

The University Grants Commission (UGC) on Tuesday approved regulations where Indian and foreign higher education institutions can now offer joint or dual degrees and twinning programmes.

Announcing the regulation, formally called UGC (Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Higher Educational Institutions to offer Twinning, Joint Degree and Dual Degree Programmes) Regulations, 2022, Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar said that this would be of “great interest to the student community as well as higher educational institutions”.

Firstpost.com gives you a clearer understanding of what this regulation entails, how it will work and how it would be beneficial to students.

What do the new regulations state?

Indian education institutes will be able collaborate with foreign counterparts for credit recognition and transfer, “twinning” arrangements, as well as offer degrees.

This means that Indian colleges will allow three types of degree programmes — dual, joint and twinning — with their foreign counterpart.

As per the regulations, a “twinning programme” shall be a collaborative arrangement whereby students enrolled with an Indian higher educational institution may undertake their programmes of study partly in India, complying with the relevant UGC regulations, and partly in a foreign higher educational institution.

The ‘joint degree programme’ will be wherein the curriculum shall be designed jointly by the collaborating Indian and foreign higher educational institutions and upon the completion of the programme, the degree will be awarded by both the institutions with a single certificate.

Meanwhile, the 'dual degree programme' shall be a programme jointly designed and offered by the Indian and foreign higher educational institutions in the same disciplines and subject areas and at the same level.

Also read: Students can pursue two full-time degrees at once. Here’s how

Can any foreign college collaborate with an Indian counterpart?

The UGC has laid down some stipulations on which colleges can apply for this kind of programme. The criteria for Indian educational institutes for this scheme is that it must have a minimum score of 3.01 or be in the top 100 in the university category of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). The college could also figure in the top 1000 of Times Higher Education or QS World University ranking.

Foreign universities should be in the top 1000 of Times Higher Education or QS World University ranking to be eligible.

How will the two colleges collaborate?

For the two institutes to work in partnership, they will have to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, spelling out all details, including student fees, intellectual property rights, attendance patterns, duration of the courses being offered, language of examination and other evaluation processes.

The Indian higher educational institutions shall seek the necessary approvals from the relevant statutory councils and bodies. For instance, for engineering courses, the Indian colleges will have to get approval from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) before entering into a collaboration with a foreign institute.

Kumar was quoted as telling PTI, “The degree awarded under these regulations shall be equivalent to any corresponding degree awarded by the Indian higher educational institution. There shall be no further requirement of seeking equivalence from any authority and the degree shall have all benefits, rights and privileges as obtaining in the case of a degree awarded by an Indian higher educational institution ordinarily.”

Has the UGC laid down any rules for these partnerships?

Yes. The UGC has stipulated that the regulations shall not be applicable to programmes offered online and in the open and distance learning mode.

Additionally, the UGC has said that for a dual degree, the students must earn at least 30 per cent of total credits from the Indian institution.

In case of the ‘joint degree programme', students will have to earn at least 30 per cent of the total credits from each collaborating institution.

What about fees and admissions?

The UGC has said that admissions will be carried out as per existing processes of the institutions.

In the matter of fees, the UGC has not put any cap, but stated that "fees applicable for the entire duration of the programme (including courses imparted by the foreign HEI) shall be made public at the time of admission.

The UGC added that the fee structure should be reasonable so as to make quality higher education accessible and affordable to all sections of the society.

Why introduce such a programme?

The UGC chairman said the regulations will provide access to “high quality education” to Indian students in India through a collaborative mechanism.

“It will lead to internationalisation of our higher education while the students are in India. This will also provide a great opportunity for our students to acquire multidisciplinary education through an internationally relevant curriculum. Because of this multidisciplinary education and additional skills that our students can get through either twinning or joint degree or degree programmes, it will enhance their employability,” he was quoted as saying.

The UGC chairman further added, “And it is also true for the foreign students when they come and study here. They will know more about India, the Indian culture, the Indian society and this can lead to collaborations between countries. These regulations will lead to more collaborations between Indian institutes and big foreign institutes, which can also lead to faculty exchange and sharing of best practices.”

With inputs from agencies

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