Offering twinning programmes with foreign institutions or entering into any academic partnership will be no more an easy affair as the approval of the University Grants Commission (UGC) for all such activities has been made mandatory for all the Indian institutions.

The existing collaborative programmes between the Indian and foreign institutions will be honoured only if the institutions meet the new guidelines issued by the UGC within six months.

The new guidelines came into effect from September 21, 2013, said the UGC Secretary Akhilesh Gupta in a public notice posted on the UGC website. The guidelines will be applicable to all degree programmes and post graduate diploma courses.

Quality is paramount

The regulations are quite stringent to ensure that quality is not compromised. Only those foreign institutions recognised for quality in their country and graded by the concerned institutions only will be allowed to have academic tie-ups and offer collaborative programmes with Indian institutions. Twinning programmes are those wherein students get to study a part of the course in both the main campuses of the respective institutions in India and abroad.

Even the Indian institutions preferring tie-up with foreign institutions have to be accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with not less than ‘B’ or its equivalent grade.

The UGC has said that it has not approved any proposal for collaboration under the new regulations so far.

Lack of clarity

At present, as many as 15 institutions in the State have twinning programmes with institutions abroad and these include the State universities as well.

Questions were raised by student unions on the courses but officials have expressed lack of clarity on the issue for taking any action. Some institutions have been escaping arguing that their courses were not covered by the university rules.

A major complaint has been the huge fee charged by these institutions for a programme that may not even be recognised at all.

“It’s time all such programmes are reviewed and the UGC should come out with a maximum fee limit to safeguard the students’ interests,” said ABVP national secretary, Kadiyam Raju.

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