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The formula will push Indian institutions to improve quality scores.
The formula will push Indian institutions to improve quality scores.

Top universities, colleges may get flexibility for foreign tie-ups

  • Top 100  institutions  can  opt  for  foreign  collaboration  through the  automatic  route,  according  to  the  UGC
  • The draft rules, once finalized and implemented, will pave the way for better cooperation

NEW DELHI : The Centre will offer considerable freedom to top universities and colleges to tie up with foreign institutions for academic and research collaborations. The top 100 institutions in the national ranking, or the top 500 in global rankings, can opt for foreign collaboration through the automatic route, the University Grants Commission has said in its draft rules.

The carrot-and-stick formula will push Indian educational institutions to improve quality assessment, rankings and the freedom to have foreign collaboration, which will be beneficial in many ways.

The draft rules, once finalized and implemented, would pave the way for better cooperation and collaboration between Indian and foreign institutes, which has been a long-pending demand of the Indian higher education sector.

The draft rules comes weeks after the Union budget said that to “promote enhanced academic collaboration with foreign higher educational institutions, it is proposed to put in place a regulatory mechanism to permit dual degrees, joint degrees, twinning arrangements and other such mechanisms".

According to the draft rules, credit recognition and transfer; joint degree programmes; dual degree programmes; and twining arrangements will be allowed.

“To be considered under automatic mode, the collaborating higher education institutions must" be accredited by National Assessment and Accreditation Council with a minimum score of 3.01 on a scale of four 4, or it “must figure in the top 100 in University category of National Institutional Ranking Framework", it added.

Besides, if an institution is recognised as an institute of eminence under the world-class university initiative, it would be eligible to opt for a collaboration with top 500 universities of Times Higher Education World University Ranking, or QS World University ranking.

It added that Indian higher education institution must have an office for international affairs which will function as a single-point contact and be responsible for all collaborative activities. Initially the regulator will allow collaborations for five years.

An expert committee will consider the proposal taking into various factors, including the credibility of the foreign institutions, research profile and quality of academic programme offered. It also said that most procedures will have to be conducted online to help remove physical visits and inspections, among other requirements. The draft rules have, however, underlined that no programme of study or research shall be offered that will compromise national security and territorial integrity of the country.

India has been debating opening up its higher education sector to allow foreign varsities to set up campuses and allow Indian varsities go abroad.

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