M Jagadesh Kumar | Photo: PTI
New Delhi: Indian and foreign higher educational institutions may soon be able to offer joint or dual degrees and twinning programmes with the University Grants Commission (UGC) approving the regulations for these programmes, according to its Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the higher education regulator on Tuesday.
"Any Indian institution accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with a minimum score of 3.01 or in the top 100 in the university category of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) or an Institution of Eminence can collaborate with any foreign institution in the top 500 of the Times Higher Education or QS World University ranking, without seeking any prior approval from the UGC," Kumar said at a press conference here.
The regulations shall not be applicable to programmes offered online and in the open and distance learning mode, he added.
Kumar, however, clarified that no franchise arrangement or study centre, "whether overtly or covertly, by whatever nomenclature used, between a foreign higher educational institution and an Indian higher educational institution shall be allowed under these regulations".
According to the approved 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 degree offered under such twinning programmes shall be awarded by the Indian institution," Kumar said.
For a "joint degree programme", 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.
A "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.
"The degrees for such programme shall be conferred by the Indian and foreign higher educational institutions, separately and simultaneously, upon the completion of the degree requirements of both the institutions. This shall not in any way be construed as two degree programmes in separate disciplines and subject areas or levels being pursued simultaneously," the UGC chairman said.
The Indian higher educational institutions shall seek the necessary approvals from the relevant statutory councils and bodies before entering into collaborations in technical, medical, legal, agricultural and such other professional programmes.
"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," Kumar said.