Indian and foreign higher education institutions may soon be able to offer joint or dual degrees and twinning programmes with the University Grants Commission (UGC) finalising a draft for the regulations of these programmes.
However, a final decision in this regard will be taken following evaluation of feedback received on the draft, which has been put in public domain.
According to the draft UGC (Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Higher Education Institutions to offer Joint Degree, Dual Degree and Twinning Programmes) Regulations, 2021, higher education institutions of India can collaborate with foreign counterparts for credit recognition and transfer, twinning arrangement as well as offer degrees.
However, regulations shall not be applicable to programmes offered in online and open and distance learning mode.
"Any Indian institution accredited by National Assessment and Accreditation Council [NAAC] with a minimum score of 3.01 or in the top 100 in University category of National Institutional Ranking Framework [NIRF] or an Institution of Eminence can collaborate with any foreign institution in top 500 of Times Higher Education or QS World University ranking automatically where as other Indian institutions and any foreign institution accredited by an assessment and accreditation agency in their homeland will have to seek approval of the UGC," the draft said.
According to the regulations, any degree or diploma awarded based on these collaborations "shall be equivalent to any corresponding degree or diploma awarded by the Indian Higher Education institution and there shall be no further requirement of seeking equivalence from any authority".
"The dual degree programme the degrees will be conferred by the Indian and foreign higher education institutions, separately and simultaneously, upon completion of degree requirements of both the institutions. The partnerships would be allowed for four types of academic collaborations, which include credit recognition and transfer, joint degree programme, dual degree programme and twinning arrangement," the draft said.
"Under the twinning arrangement, while a student enrolled in an Indian institution may undertake their programme of study partly in the foreign higher education institution, the degree or diploma offered shall be awarded by the Indian higher education institution only. The joint degree will be a single certificate bearing the crests and logo of both collaborating institutions," it added.
As per the draft regulations no franchise arrangement will be allowed under these collaborations.
"A franchise arrangement, whether overtly or covertly, by whatever nomenclature used, between a foreign higher education institution and an Indian higher education institution shall not be allowed under these regulations," it said.