New Delhi: The central government has decided to close down five-year integrated or dual-degree master of business administration (MBA) programmes offered by many universities and independent management schools in India. The government had previously closed down four-year undergraduate degree courses in academic year 2014-15.
A circular issued by the country’s technical education regulator All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) said such courses were “not in line with the UGC-approved programmes”. The University Grants Commission (UGC) is the country’s top higher education regulator.
“The AICTE has decided the following: the dual degree courses have been closed (sic) and no fresh admission should be permitted from AY (academic year) 2016-17,” said a circular issued to all institutions.
It has directed institutions not to enrol students to such courses for the 2016-17 academic year. Students currently enrolled in such courses will be allowed to exit the course after the end of three years, the circular said.
Ironically, such courses were approved by AICTE in 2012-13 to suit the different needs of the industry.
The five-year integrated course had an exit option at the end of three years with a degree called bachelor of management (BM), and after four years with bachelor of applied management. On completion of five years, students were given master’s degree in applied management.
Former AICTE chairman S.S. Mantha, who had signed off on the programme, defended his four-year-old decision. “I don’t think, the integrated course has flouted any norms. What they have now moved is to shut the five-year integrated programmes,” Mantha said, pointing out that the circular clearly mentions that existing students will not face any problem.
The integrated course was intended to provide an undergraduate degree at the end of three or four years, followed by a master’s degree in five years. The regulator had then cited three key objectives for starting such courses:
a) To educate and groom the students to get entry-level managerial positions in manufacturing/services organizations or to start and run own ventures with good business knowledge.
b) To facilitate the development of students to take up growing challenges and find and implement solutions that are environmentally viable, ethically correct and socially acceptable.
c) To provide for job opportunities at different levels of management within organizations starting at supervisory level in small and medium enterprises and middle level management in large PSUs and MNCs.
“What we had done four years back goes well with the present government’s push for start-ups. In my view, such courses can create employable workforce for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Start-up India mission,” Mantha added.
Over 10,300 institutions, including more than 3,400 B-schools, come under the purview of AICTE. But there is no exact data on how many institutions offer such courses and how many students are enrolled.
Industry insiders said that since the course is just four-year-old, less than 100 schools offer such courses. “The number of students pursuing such courses are estimated to be less than 10,000,” said Harivansh Chaturvedi, alternate president of education promotion society of India, a federation of private professional education providers in India.
Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Indore also offers a five-year integrated management course but IIMs don’t come under the purview of AICTE.
In the latest circular, the AICTE said it will safeguard the interests of the students who have enrolled in such courses since 2012-13.
“There will be an exit option at the end of three years for the students, who have joined the dual degree courses in 2015-16 and prior to that, by awarding a BBA (bachelor of business administration) degree instead of a BM degree,” the circular said.
C. Raj Kumar, vice-chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University, a private university in Haryana that offers a five-year integrated MBA course, said he is yet to receive a circular from AICTE.
“As a university, we are governed by the UGC, not by AICTE. I am not sure, whether our integrated course will have any impact because of the AICTE directive. Even if it does, it will not impact existing students,” Kumar said, adding that there is demand for such courses.