India: Regulations To Regulate Collaboration Between Indian And Foreign Educational Institutions

University Grants Commission ('UGC') has notified regulations for promotion and maintenance of standards for academic collaborations between Foreign Educational Institutions ('FEI') and Indian Educational Institutions ('IEI'). These regulations will be called the UGC (Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic Collaborations between Indian and Foreign Educational Institutes) Regulations, 2012 ('Regulations').

FEI shall means an institution duly established or incorporated in its home country and has been offering educational programs at the graduate and higher levels in its home country in the areas or disciplines concerned and which offers or proposes to offer programmes of study leading to the award of degree(s) or postgraduate diploma(s) through conventional mode, but excluding distance mode, in collaboration, partnership or in a twining arrangement with any Indian Educational Institutions.

IEI means a university or college or institution, whether known as such or by any other name, (public and private), other than Technical Institutions, recognized as such by the relevant Statutory Body for imparting education at the undergraduate, postgraduate and higher levels.

IEI and FEI under the Regulation enters into an arrangement through an instrument of written agreement for the purpose collaborative or partnership/twining arrangements with the purpose of offering degree(s) and postgraduate diploma programme(s) by way of collaboration.

Applicability

These Regulations shall apply to all existing FEI and IEI operating in India through collaboration and offering programmes leading to award of degree or post graduate diploma. It is pertinent to note that these regulations shall not apply to technical institutions which do not cover Technical Universities and Universities offering technical programmes. All FEI and IEI having any existing collaborative arrangement shall comply with these regulations within a period of six months from the date of their coming into force. On commencement of this Regulations, no FEI or IEI shall establish or operate its educational activity in India through collaboration leading to award of degree(s) and postgraduate diplomas(s) without the express permission or approval of the Commission.

Eligibility Criteria and Conditions for Collaboration:

A FEI collaborating with an IEI shall satisfy the following criteria or conditions:

1. It should be accredited with the highest grade in their home land.

2. It shall have operative arrangements in India through IEI by way of Collaboration.

3. It shall ensure that programme(s) of study offered through collaboration or partnership or twining offered and imparted by them in India are in conformity with the standards laid down by the respective statutory regulatory body concerned.

4. It shall also abide by any other conditions prescribed by the Government of India and Statutory Regulatory Body(ies) from time to time.

An IEI collaborating with a FEI shall satisfy the following criteria or conditions:

1. It shall have accreditation by National Assessment and Accreditation Council with a grade not less than B or its equivalent grade.1

2. It shall have an experience of at least five (5) years in offering educational programme(s) in India at the level of degree and postgraduate diploma.2

3. Its academic infrastructure, including laboratory and workshop facilities and library shall meet the requirements of the relevant Statutory Body.

4. It shall obtain prior approval from the affiliating university concerned, if the institution is affiliated to a University

In addition to the above both IEI and FEI involved in collaborative, twinning or other forms of partnership arrangements shall satisfy the following criteria and conditions:-

1. The academic requirements and other details of the programmes(s) of study shall be made public by displaying prominently in the respective websites before the commencement of the programme by the IEI concerned.

2. No programme of study and/or research shall be offered which is against national security and territorial integrity of India.

3. The educational institution concerned shall also abide by any other condition(s) specified by the Government of Indiaand Statutory Body(ies) from time to time.

4. The educational institution shall abide by and comply with the relevant Regulations, Norms, Notifications and Instructions issued by the Reserve Bank of India from time to time wherever foreign exchange is involved.

Procedure for Approval and Collaboration

1. FEI collaborating with IEI shall have to enter into a written Memorandum of Understanding or Agreement with the IEI. No Memorandum of Understanding or Agreement shall be entered unless IEI has obtained prior approval of the Commission including the approval of the draft Memorandum of Understanding or Agreement.

2. FEI shall submit a draft Memorandum of Understanding/Agreement to the Commission along with an application in the specified format giving details about the infrastructure facilities, facilities available for instruction, faculty, specified fee, courses, curricula, requisite funds for operations for a minimum period of 3 years and other terms and conditions of collaboration, if any.

3. Commission after receiving the application along with draft Memorandum of Understanding or Agreement, shall acknowledge the receipt of the application within a week. The proposal shall be then processed internally and deficiency, if any, shall be communicated and additional documents, if any required, shall be asked for within a period of one month.

4. Once the Commission is satisfied that the proposal is complete in all respects, the commission shall take the decision to issue a letter of approval, after considering various factors including quality of education, overall merit of the proposal, fees to be charged, credibility of the FEI as well as IEI within a period of 6 months.

5. After approval of the Memorandum of Understanding or Agreement by the Commission, it shall be signed by both the partnering institutions and a copy of such Memorandum of Understanding or Agreement shall be forwarded to the Commission and shall also be uploaded on their websites.

6. The approval so granted shall be valid for a period of 5 years or as specified otherwise, during which, the commission may review the progress made and periodically inform the agencies concerned about the results of such a review and the Commission may extend or withdraw the approval or impose such other conditions for extension, as it may deem fit and proper.

Revocation for Approval

1. In case the Commission does not approve the proposal, a letter of rejection shall be issued by the Commission stipulating the reasons therefor.

2. Approval granted by the Commission may be revoked in the event of any malpractices. However before revocation, an opportunity to show cause shall be given to the education institution concerned.

Consequences of violation of Regulation

1. Commission may issue directions for termination of the Memorandum of Understanding or Agreement for collaboration of they are satisfied itself that the collaborating institution(s) is/are not functioning in accordance with these Regulations. Commission while issuing such direction shall ensure that the students who have already enrolled for such course or programme are permitted to continue till they obtain requisite qualification.

2. Commission shall take action as provided under Section 14 of the UGC Act, 1956 and shall also notify on its website and also through media that the programme(s) offered or conducted through the said collaborative arrangements are not in conformity with these regulations.

3. In case Commission finds any deemed university violating any of the provision of these Regulations, in addition to the above, the Commission may also recommend to the Central Government for withdrawal of Deeded to be University status.

4. Commission may also take such further action against IEI as it may deem fit and proper.

5. Commission may also declare the FEI as 'blacklisted' and prohibit such FEI from entering into any collaborative arrangement with any IEI in future.

Miscellaneous

1. Regulation restricts a franchise arrangement, by whatever name, between FEI and IEI. Regulation also do not permit any arrangement involving FEI granting for a consideration a license or permission to an IEI to carry out educational activity in the name of FEI.

2. University Grants Commission shall maintain an updated list of approved collaborating institutions on its website.

3. All matters relating to the grievances of students including legal matters relating to the collaboration shall be addressed by the IEI entering into academic collaboration. Any disputes arising in relation to collaborative arrangement between IEI and FEI shall be governed by the India Law.

Conclusion

Regulations discriminate between privately-funded institutions and public institutions as there are certain exemption of accreditation and experience of offering programme and approval of Memorandum of understanding or Agreement respectively. The nature of collaboration is also not defined and there appears to be no clarity on the role of the partners and the arrangement of faculty.

Footnotes

1. The IEI maintained by the Central Government or Commission and State Government(s) and Union Territory Government(s) is exempted from the condition of accreditation under these Regulations.

2. The IEI maintained by the Central Government or Commission and State Government(s) and Union Territory Government(s) is exempted from the requirement of five (5) years of experience under this Regulation.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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