Update on UGC’s twining initiative: 48 foreign universities have shown positive response

Giving a boost to the government’s effort to internationalize Indian higher education, 48 foreign universities responded to University Grants Commission’s (UGC) new regulations and guidelines for twinning, joint degree, and dual degree programs between Indian and foreign universities.

While the University of Glasgow, Scotland, expressed its interest in discussing the potential for academic collaboration, Deakin University, Australia, in its communication to India’s higher education regulator stated that the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is a progressive policy which would help the university establish new relations with Indian institutions. Many higher education institutions expressed interest in setting up satellite campuses in India in response to UGC reaching out to them.

In April 2020, UGC notified its regulations for Indian universities to collaborate with their foreign counterparts to offer joint, twinning or dual degrees. As per the regulations, students will be able to earn a dual degree conferred by Indian and foreign higher educational institutions, separately and simultaneously.

The University of Queensland, Australia, meets UGC officials in August for potential collaboration. According to UGC sources, a university from France has committed to setting up a satellite center in India. The University of Tokyo, in its response to UGC, stated the proposal is attractive and should not be just restricted to it but should be taken up as a common interest among all the universities and institutions in Japan.

The University of Cambridge, too, wrote to UGC stating that it has been following the developments of the “NEP with great interest” and is looking for new ones apart from existing partnerships.

M Jagadesh Kumar, chairperson, UGC, will meet ambassadors starting from Australia next week to further the discussions. “Recently, there has been a lot of discussion between the PMs of India and Australia. Education is one of the important topics,” said Kumar.

Bangor University, Wales, stated that it’s a good time for further collaborations. SOAS University of London said it is looking forward to collaborations as per the new regulations. While officials from the University of Manchester visiting India this week proposed a meeting with the UGC head “to discuss UGC Policy and support for twinning arrangements”.

Similar responses were received from Universit├Ąt Jena, Germany, and Durban University of Technology, South Africa.

Commenting on the development, Kumar said: “Students from our educational institutions who had gone abroad have done extremely well. So foreign universities know that we impart high-quality education. So that’s one of the reasons why many countries have high respect for the educational system in India. The other reason is that we have responses even from universities like Stanford and MIT. One advantage for these top universities coming and setting up campuses here, because we are also saying that they have to offer undergraduate and postgraduate programs, is to train students so that they can join PhD programs either in India or abroad.”