New UGC guidelines have helped streamline foreign partnerships for universities

New UGC regulations have streamlined the process of partnering with foreign universities to offer dual, joint or twinning degree programmes.

Institutions offering dual and joint degree programmes in collaboration with a foreign university (Image courtesy: IIM Banglore)Institutions offering dual and joint degree programmes in collaboration with a foreign university (Image courtesy: IIM Banglore)

Pritha Roy Choudhury | January 25, 2023 | 11:53 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Vanshika Nath wants to be an entrepreneur but for now, she is preparing to join her father’s business and make it global. “My father is in the agro-products business and my uncle is a venture capitalist. I want to help them both as they have never had the chance of an international experience as I am being offered,” she said.

Nath is a first-year student of the International Bachelor of Business Administration (IBBA) at Jagdish Seth School of Management (JAGSoM) in Mumbai, a dual-degree programme offered in collaboration with the KEDGE Business School in France. Nath will complete the first two years at JAGSoM and the other two in France. KEDGE has been accredited by all three major bodies – EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA. “Very few business schools are awarded a triple crown, so completing this dual degree programme will be extremely beneficial for me. I think only one percent of the schools across the globe are awarded a triple crown accreditation,” added Nath.

Indian institutions, most of them private, have attempted collaborations with foreign institutions for years. Those partnerships are set to become more structured with the higher education regulator, University Grants Commission (UGC) framing guidelines for dual-degree, joint-degree and twinning programmes in May 2022. Several institutions had already announced partnerships and others did so later. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras tied up with University of Birmingham (UK). Pondicherry University’s website says it has collaborated with Cleveland State University (USA), Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne, Paris and University of Toulon – both in France – on dual-degree programmes at various levels.

dual degree, vijaybhoomi university, jagsom, ugc,bba, ibba, kedge business school France Vanshika Nath

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New guidelines

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has emphasised the “internationalisation” of education in India and to bring policies in line with it.

The UGC guidelines require that the curriculum of joint and dual degrees be jointly designed by the Indian university and the partner foreign institution.

The UGC guidelines say: “All other provisions related to offering of Dual Degree Programme shall be decided mutually by the participating institutions conforming to the respective rules, regulations and laws of their respective institution and country.”

Also, that the student has to earn at least 30 percent of the course credits in the foreign university. It specifies that the credits earned by students should not be from the overlapping course content. Further, both the Indian and partner universities should have provisions for the exit of students who are unable to complete the dual degree programme.

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IIT Madras and the University of Birmingham have together designed a joint master’s programme that will be offered from the next academic year. “We believe that our joint study programmes will appeal to students in both India and the UK, as they will offer a unique opportunity to experience study at two elite global universities – graduating with a postgraduate degree from each institution,” Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor, University of Birmingham, told Careers360 in an email interview.

joint degree, ugc, iit Madraas, university of birmingham, nepAdam Tickell, VC, University of Birmingham

Dual degrees help keep costs low for students. Nath was pleased that the four-year course was coming at a reasonable cost – Rs. 20 lakh or Rs. 5 lakh per year. For the first two years, students maintaining a minimum 6.5 CGPA also get a scholarship of Rs. 2 lakh per year. The living and travel expenses, however, are separate. Pondicherry University’s regulations on dual degrees – framed in 2020 – say that the partner institution will independently decide on fees.

“In all the programmes offered by Vijaybhoomi University with international partners, the whole vision and thought process was to make them affordable and provide quality education for the Indian students. The fee is extremely reasonable and economical,” said Shalini Kalia, dean, JAGSoM, Vijaybhoomi University.

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International partnerships

Nine private universities have reportedly come up with dual degree programmes in collaboration with foreign universities. The programmes are being offered at various levels, starting from undergraduate to postgraduate and PhD.

TATA Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) started offering two dual-degree programmes in 2022, one in collaboration with Monash University, Australia, and the other in collaboration with Queen Mary University of London.

Private institutions offering dual degree programmes in collaboration with a foreign university are Amity University, OP Jindal Global University, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Shiv Nadar University and Azim Premji University.

The JAGSoM also offers a two-year international master in business administration (MBA) programme. In that, students spend the first year at JAGSoM and the second at a partner university in Europe, USA or Australia.

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The integrated dual degree programmes are of five years’ duration wherein a student earns two degrees – the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree simultaneously at the end of the five-year programme.

Tickell in his recent visit to India signed agreements with Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) and Bennett University to work in the field of law. University of Birmingham is in partnership with private institutions in India like that of Amity University, Manipal University, OP Jindal Global University and Chitkara University for offering undergraduate programmes. The students will study part of the programme in an Indian institution first before moving to the University of Birmingham.

University of Birmingham’s School of Law has been awarded a British Council grant to develop a a joint master’s module on business, human rights and the environment with Jindal Law School.

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