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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Validity of a foreign Degree

How valid is your degree?

Many students are blindly opting for programmes being offered by international institutions in India. Students, today, are getting trapped in twinning and dual-admission programmes

STUDENTS keen on joining programmes offered by foreign universities and institutions operating in India, either directly or in collaboration with an Indian institution, need to be extra careful. For quite some time now, statutory bodies like the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have been asking students to check whether or not such courses have been validated, and now even US officials are extending the same advice.

Steven Crow, president, Higher Learning Commission (HLC), while discussing American education institutes' experience in India, elaborated on how Indian students get trapped into the 'twinning' and 'dual admission' arrangements in the absence of any formal law on foreign universities' operations in India. HLC grants accreditation to North-Central American institutes.

"Due to the lack of any formal quality assurance agency the degree of involvement of the US in India is lesser, as compared to China and Singapore. We thought that India would represent a huge market for us but, unfortunately, that is not true.The Indian government needs to have effective laws in place, if they wish to invite legitimate forums to offer education in India," stated Crow.

But what about the American institutes that are already offering programmes through collaborative arrangements to Indian students? As there is no formal qualification framework, students often end up opting for such programmes without due regard for their actual validity. "The classic example is the twinning programme where a student is offered part of the qualification in India and part of it in the US.There is no American involvement if the first two years of the programmes are offered in India, which happens in most of the cases. In such cases, we are not responsible for ensuring the quality of the programmes offered," he informed.

While explaining further, he added, "Students also go in for programmes that claim to offer dual admissions, under which one is admitted to an institute in India and the US at the same time.That is generally done to lock the student admissions, eventually he/she has to come to the US to complete the qualification. He/she is not awarded any US credits if they do not go the US. And without US credits, students will not be able to earn a US qualification or a job on the basis of that qualification." Crow, while dwelling on the franchisee arrangement, also stated that students should check what kind of profile a particular franchise has been asked to perform upon. Most of the time, universities enter into such arrangements to hire students for them and not to offer qualifications on their behalf. "Offering a qualification through a franchisee arrangement is something no reputed US varsity would like to do," claimed Crow.

Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group

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