India ruling sparks industry reckoning on recognition of online degrees in TNE

New UGC regulations in India raise industry concerns about the recognition of online degrees from foreign universities, emphasizing the growing importance of TNE.

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The government of India has implemented regulations that are believed to impact the recognition of online degrees from foreign universities. 

The University Grants Commission (Recognition and Grant of Equivalence to Qualifications obtained from Foreign Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2023 have triggered discussions within the education industry, particularly regarding the future of transnational education in the country.

The decision is part of India’s broader initiative to strengthen academic collaboration with foreign countries and align with the National Education Policy of 2020. 

Foreign higher educational qualifications will be acknowledged under specific conditions, including recognition in the home country, in-person instruction, adherence to Indian entry standards, and similar program duration. 

Equivalence Certificates issued by the Commission will be accepted by Indian universities for admissions and employment purposes, but these regulations do not determine disciplinary parity or suitability for specific programs or jobs.

“In order to facilitate the mobility of students in a seamless manner, it is necessary to have a robust and transparent mechanism for recognizing foreign qualifications and granting equivalence to such qualifications,” the UGC stated.

“It is expected that the mobility of students will be greatly enhanced as a result of these reform measures,” it added.

Crucial role of TNE

Edwin van Rest, chief executive officer of Studyportals, asserted that the government’s decision not to recognize online degrees from foreign universities elevates the significance of Transnational Education.

He said that TNE offerings become vital, especially in light of restrictions on dependents accompanying students abroad. 

“TNE offerings could also minimize, to a small extent, the impact of restrictions on dependents coming with students to the UK, as students would need to spend less time away from family members,” he told MSM Reporter.

Administrative and financial hurdles

Meanwhile, Louise Nicol, an industry expert, highlighted the administrative challenges and financial risks associated with the growth of TNE in India following the government’s guidelines. 

“India will be administratively complex, tough to deliver, and even tougher to make pay after the government has imposed guidelines against online/distance and franchise delivery,” she said in her comment on LinkedIn.

According to Nicol, offering online or distance degrees to Indian students, along with franchise arrangements, will face administrative complexities and may prove challenging to sustain financially.

Nicol’s viewpoint brings attention to the practical difficulties institutions may encounter in implementing TNE initiatives within the confines of the new guidelines.

She pointed out that the regulations could discourage high-ranking universities from adopting a campus-based model in India due to perceived risks, both regulatory and financial.

Citing Jandhyala Tilak, concerns about the potential negative impact of online education on internationalization efforts were also noted. 

He argued that foreign universities are encouraged to establish physical campuses in India to increase access for Indian students and attract foreign students to Indian campuses. 

Nicol added that the risks associated with branch campuses make it unlikely for “high-ranking” universities to adopt a campus-based model in India at present, citing regulatory and financial concerns.

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos has been a professional journalist for five years now. She has contributed and covered stories for premier Philippine dailies and publications, and has traveled to different parts of the country to capture and tell the most significant stories happening.

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Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos has been a professional journalist for five years now. She has contributed and covered stories for premier Philippine dailies and publications, and has traveled to different parts of the country to capture and tell the most significant stories happening.

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