On Thursday 17 August, 2023, the UGC unveiled preliminary guidelines for the accreditation of degrees acquired from international institutions. However, these guidelines do not encompass degrees obtained through online or distance education methods.
The draft guidelines have clarified that the regulations will not extend to "professional qualifications granted by foreign educational institutions" in fields like Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Law, and Architecture. Additionally, the guidelines have outlined procedures for educational credentials obtained from foreign board-affiliated schools and degrees acquired from offshore campuses.
These regulations are being introduced against the backdrop of ongoing developments, as foreign universities are making progress in establishing campuses within GIFT City, Gujarat. Simultaneously, Indian universities are engaging in partnerships with overseas institutions to provide dual or joint degree programs.
According to the UGC, recognition and equivalence for degrees obtained from foreign higher educational institutions will be contingent upon the student's physical presence at an institute acknowledged by their home country. Additionally, the guidelines stipulate that the entry-level prerequisites for admission to such programs should closely align with those of corresponding programs in India.
A standing committee designated for this specific purpose will assess the "similarity" of entry prerequisites as outlined in the draft guidelines. This evaluation will be based on factors such as the comparable minimum duration of the program in both India and the foreign nation, the minimum credit requisites, and the evaluation procedures. The guidelines specify that the committee will examine credits across various types of courses, including fundamental background courses, core disciplinary courses, elective disciplinary courses, interdisciplinary courses, and laboratory sessions. This comprehensive assessment aims to ensure that the equivalence between degrees reflects the resemblance in the educational offerings between India and foreign institutions.
In cases where there is a disparity in entry criteria, the UGC will take into account the minimum credit prerequisites. It is important to note that programs conducted under franchise agreements will not qualify for recognition. As for offshore campuses, recognition will only be granted if they meet the accreditation criteria set by their host country and their respective home nations.
Education received from schools affiliated with foreign boards, which provide a foreign education system abroad, will be acknowledged and considered equivalent solely if it has been pursued in a conventional mode of education.
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