India Refuses to Recognize International Institutions’ Online Learning Credentials


The University Grants Commission (UGC) in India has released draft regulations outlining the recognition of foreign degrees as top universities consider establishing branch campuses in the country. The regulations aim to provide a robust and transparent mechanism for recognizing foreign qualifications and granting equivalence to them, facilitating the mobility of students. However, online and distance degrees, as well as franchise arrangements, will not be recognized under the new guidelines.

The regulations encourage foreign institutions to set up physical campuses in India to increase access to foreign education for Indian students and attract foreign students to study in India. The recognition of qualifications from foreign branch campuses in India will depend on approval from both the Indian government and the country of origin. Academic programs must also meet accreditation requirements in the host country as well as the country of origin.

Similarly, Indian institutions establishing offshore campuses must receive approval from Indian authorities and the host country. Academic programs offered at these offshore campuses must adhere to the accreditation requirements of the host country.

The UGC will establish an online portal for students to apply for equivalence grants for qualifications obtained from foreign institutions, particularly from countries where there is no existing agreement with India on recognition.

While these regulations aim to enhance the mobility of students and promote internationalization, the exclusion of online education options has raised concerns. Some experts argue that online education could deter high-ranking foreign universities from establishing physical campuses in India. Despite this limitation, India’s efforts to attract more foreign students to its institutions are expected to continue.

Additionally, Indian institutions are also establishing offshore campuses, with India’s National Forensic Sciences University being the first state institution to do so by launching a branch in Uganda.

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