University Grants Commission releases draft for foreign educational institutions

NEW DELHI: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released the draft UGC (Recognition and Grant of Equivalence to Qualifications obtained from Foreign Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2023.
These are the new guidelines for assessing equivalence and accrediting degrees acquired from universities abroad. As per the recent instructions, the UGC has imposed limitations on degrees procured via distance and online learning modes, as well as those attained through franchise agreements.
The higher education regulator informed that many foreign universities have reached the stages of setting up campuses in India’s GIFT city. On the other hand, some Indian universities are partnering with foreign universities to offer joint degrees.
As per the Ministry of Education, the 2020 national education policy (NEP) proposes a range of reforms in higher education in India. Its aim is to establish India as a “global study destination,” offering top-notch education at reasonable expenses and drawing in a larger influx of international students.

The UGC has stated that, with the goal of facilitating smooth student mobility, it has developed comprehensive guidelines to create a strong and transparent framework. This framework will facilitate the recognition of foreign qualifications and the granting of equivalency to such credentials.
UGC said that while granting equivalence, the candidate must have pursued the programme through regular, in-person instruction and not through online or distance learning. It lays down minimum credit requirements, evaluation processes, minimum duration, etc.
The UGC stated that through a specialised online platform, students can request for equivalence assessment of their foreign qualifications from the UGC. Within a quick timeframe of just 15 days, the Commission will communicate its verdict to the applicant.
Additionally, a provision for a re-appeal is made available to the applicant. Subsequently, the UGC will issue an equivalence certificate to the applicant, which holds validity for employment, advanced education, and various other objectives.
It said that the Indian students acquiring qualifications from foreign higher education institutions through collaborative arrangements, such as MoUs or Agreements between the Indian Government or University Grants Commission and foreign counterparts, will now find a streamlined path. They are relieved from the necessity of applying for equivalence, reaffirming smoother educational pursuits and cross-border cooperation.
The intended equivalence certificate will affirm the parity of qualification between a foreign qualification and a qualification granted by an Indian board or university at the corresponding level. These regulations shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Gazette of India.
(Inputs from IANS)

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