Taking a leaf out of the All-India Council for Technical Education’s (AICTE) book, the University Grants commission has moved to put forth new regulations on universities that are seeking twinning programs with academic institutions abroad. The new regulations put in restrictions involving very high accreditation scores and approvals from the appropriate regulation agencies.
These collaborations are generally undertaken by domestic universities and foreign ones alike to build a spirit of fusion and synergy between institutes globally, share and evolve curriculums, and deliver modern and internationally poignant content for learning. This also leads to greater choices for the students who apply.
The UGC announced that institutions in India must have been conferred the highest score of accreditation and further must also conform to other eligibility criteria laid down as regulations. Those Universities and colleges may then go on to apply online to the UGC for starting with the procedure for twinning programmes with foreign educational institutions (FEIs).
One may recall that the AICTE already has regulations in place for technical twinning programmes, requiring the Indian University applying to have a valid NBA (National Board of Accreditation) accreditation for a year in advance of the 10th of April 2017 for whichever course is seeking twinning. Without the AICTE approving of any program, no FEI can carry out any educational programmes in India.
FEIs must also have been awarded accreditations by authorised agencies in their respective nations of origin before they can offer technical courses in twinning with Indian Institutions. There must also be a unity in nomenclature for the degree, diploma, postgraduate degree or postgraduate diploma being offered in India carrying over to the twinning universities’ nation as well. The regulations also mention that there must be appropriately worded Memorandums of Understanding signed between the Universities taking part in the twinning programme specifically for this purpose. The FEI will be the one awarding the degree in its nation of origin.
These programmes are aimed at helping to expose students to the protocols, curriculum and standards and practices of learning being followed internationally in the field of education, says Anil D Sahasrabudhe, chairman of AICTE. He goes on to say that this will no doubt, be able to improve their capabilities, become competitive globally and become more attractive to employers.
Educational Institutions in the subcontinent will have to follow through on the guidelines by the UGC and/or AICTE if the wish to gain recognition for the twinning programmes they are providing in coordination with the institutes abroad, according to the AIU (Association of Indian Universities). This move would be a great step towards protecting Indian students in their pursuit of education abroad.
More support is provided to students in the form of absorbing students into the regular curriculum, in case the approval of their twinning programme is cut or they fail to receive a visa for the country to which they have applied. The AICTE will also, in certain exceptional situations, reallocate the affected students to another recognised and accredited institution with support from the government in the respective states. In such cases, the institution must return the complete fees received from the students to the institutions where the students have then been accommodated in.
In case there is any default on adherence to the guidelines on behalf of a foreign university, they will not be allowed to enter into a twinning programme in India for at least three years.