Saturday, May 18, 2013

UGC dilutes norms for foreign educational institutions

Modification in the minutes of the UGC (University Grants Commission) meeting could result in qualitative change in collaboration between Indian and foreign educational institutions, whereby even B grade domestic institutions could have foreign partners.

On March 11, 2013, UGC in its 492nd full commission meeting while considering the UGC (Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012, resolved that foreign educational institutions with highest grade in their homeland would be allowed to collaborate with Indian institutions which are also accredited with the highest grade by national accreditation agencies. In India, accreditation is done by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).

However, the minutes were qualitatively changed in the UGC's 493rd full commission meeting on May 10, despite protest by a member. Now, the modified minute says that foreign institutions with highest grade should be allowed to collaborate with Indian institutions not less than B grade in respect of institutional, threshold and programme accreditation. Many departments of Indian institutions enter into programme-based collaboration with foreign institutions. The UGC member who protested that modification of minutes would lead to dilution of quality was asked to submit a note of dissent even as the Commission approved the modification of minutes.

Sources in the Commission said, "There is a general view that since top-rung foreign universities are not interested in collaboration with Indian educational institutions the ambit should be widened. Foreign collaboration with B grade Indian institutions would only enhance the quality and credibility of domestic institutions." UGC sources said there has been a flurry of requests from both A and B grade Indian educational institutions with collaboration proposals.

While UGC chairperson Ved Prakash is indisposed, Commission secretary Akhilesh Gupta refused to comment citing that he isn't authorized to speak to media.

Source: The Times of India, May 18, 2013

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