UKIBC welcomes approval for Dual, Joint and Twinning Degree Programmes with Foreign Universities

By Kealan Finnegan

The UKIBC welcomes the recent decision of the Indian University Grants Commission to approve regulations for Dual, Joint and Twinning Degree Programmes with Foreign Universities.

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 or an Institution of Eminence can collaborate with any foreign institution in the top 1000 of the Times Higher Education or QS World University ranking, without seeking any prior approval from the UGC.

This is a positive decision for both India and the UK as it will give a real boost to collaborations and will attract more students to come and study in the UK-India corridor. Dual and joint degrees will enable students to seamlessly transition between India and other countries, unlock new opportunities, and create wide ranging cross-border linkages that go well beyond the Higher Education sector.

UKIBC Managing Director, Kevin McCole, said: “Internationalisation is an important strand of India’s National Education Policy, and this UGC announcement will help more Indian universities create long lasting relationships with UK universities and develop their rankings and international profile. Young Indians – the students – will also benefit too.

The rise in Indian students coming to the UK in recent years has been very positive, and the approval of Dual and Joint degree programmes will help more Indians to get an international education experience in the future. The people to people connect, or ‘Living Bridge’, is a critical ingredient in the India-UK relationship. It binds our countries together and enables us to share ideas, expertise, and work on common goals. This will also create positive knock-on effects for a lifetime as Indians studying and working in the UK forge life-long friendships and connections.”

Building mutually effective higher education collaboration between the UK and India is one of the most important steps that can be taken by both Governments to future proof the UK-India partnership as it will improve the skills-base, investment and trade flows, and generate more jobs and prosperity in both countries.

UK higher education institutions are keen to play a role in India’s remarkable rise and are very well-placed to do so, with expertise and academic rigour respected around the world.

The regulations, however, will not be applicable to programmes offered online and in the open and distance learning mode. We believe that expanding the regulations in the future to cover online learning will be beneficial, as the online learning space grows, accelerated by the pandemic, and improves accessibility to larger portions of the Indian population.

We also believe that universities that global rankings should not be the only criteria for participation. Ranking systems are limited in a number of ways, for example they have a geographic bias, reward research over teaching, and do not assess a university’s ability to internationalise. As a result, brilliant universities in the UK, in India, and indeed across the world, fall outside of these rankings.

We look forward to more details and the official notification emerging in the coming weeks and months as the Regulations are notified and will continue to work with our members, clients, and with both Governments to support the Higher Education sector in and between the UK-India corridor. Update: UGC notification letter was published on Thursday 5 May.

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