Pay 25 lakh, get a de­gree that’s not valid in In­dia

ANY­ONE WATCH­ING? A num­ber of pri­vate in­sti­tutes have col­lab­o­rated with for­eign univer­si­ties to of­fer joint de­grees not recog­nised by In­dia’s top ed­u­ca­tional reg­u­la­tory bod­ies

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Jee­van Prakash Sharma

When Sarika (name changed) spent ₹ 25 lakh to com­plete a BA in fash­ion de­sign in 2014 from Pearl Academy, lit­tle did she re­alise that the de­gree cer­tifi­cate she was awarded by the in­sti­tute in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Not­ting­ham Trent Univer­sity (NTU) would not be for­mally recog­nised in In­dia. She was made aware of the fact by the ex­port house she was work­ing in. Want­ing to lay off staff, her man­ager showed her a let­ter from the As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dian Univer­si­ties (AIU); ques­tion­ing the va­lid­ity of her de­gree, and ter­mi­nated her ser­vices.

The AIU, a body which has the man­date to is­sue equiv­a­lence cer­tifi­cates of for­eign de­grees to match them with de­grees awarded by In­dian univer­si­ties, re­fused to recog­nise Sarika’s de­gree as valid and also did not is­sue an equiv­a­lence cer­tifi­cate to her.

“It has been ob­served from the pa­pers that the can­di­date has passed her bach­e­lor’s from Not­ting­ham Trent Univer­sity, UK, from their In­dian cen­tre through Pearl Academy, Delhi, in 2014. As per the mat­ter of pol­icy, AIU does not is­sue Equiv­a­lence Cer­tifi­cate for the de­grees awarded by for­eign univer­si­ties in In­dia,” reads the AIU let­ter.

AIU and UGC ( Univer­sity Grants Com­mis­sion) norms re­quire in­sti­tutes to be af­fil­i­ated to univer­si­ties or fol­low For­eign Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tu­tion Reg­u­la­tions 2012; many in­sti­tutes are at­tract­ing ap­pli­cants on the ba­sis of their ‘ in­ter­na­tional de­gree’ of­fers, and charg­ing fees rang­ing from ₹ 10 lakh to ₹ 25 lakh. Some of the In­dian and in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tutes’ col­lab­o­ra­tions in­clude the In­dian In­sti­tute of Art and De­sign with Kingston Univer­sity (Lon­don); GD Goenka World In­sti­tute with Lan­caster Univer­sity; In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute of Fash­ion De­sign with Isti­tuto Di Moda Burgo (Mi­lan, Italy); Mod’Art In­dia with Mod’Art ( Paris); Lisaa School of De­sign, Delhi, with Lisaa School of De­sign (France); Raf­fles Mil­len­nium In­ter­na­tional, New Delhi, with Raf­fles (Sin­ga­pore); IMS De­sign a nd I nno­va­tion Academy with Pear­son Ed­u­ca­tion, UK; Pi­casso An­i­ma­tion Col­lege with Cen­ten­nial Col­lege, Toronto, Canada; among oth­ers.

When HT Ed­u­ca­tion sent emails and made phone calls to the In­dian in­sti­tutes and asked for clar­ity on the reg­u­la­tory pro­vi­sions un­der which they were of­fer­ing de­grees, no one ex­cept Pearl Academy re­sponded. Ad­mit­ting that the de­gree it of­fers in col­lab­o­ra­tion with NTU has no le­gal ap­proval in In­dia, Pearl Academy, how­ever, claimed that it fol­lowed in­ter­na­tional stan­dards and en­sured qual­ity as­sur­ance (see story be­low).

When this cor­re­spon­dent vis­ited Pearl Academy’s train­ing cen­tre in Naraina In­dus­trial Area in Delhi and claimed to be the brother of a girl who wanted to join the in­sti­tute, the coun­sel­lor asked him to pay 60% ex­tra fee and get a rec­om­men­da­tion from an ex­port house as all the seats were filled up and ad­mis­sions could only be done un­der a spe­cial cat­e­gory. When asked if the de­gree would be valid in any univer­sity in In­dia for post­grad­u­a­tion cour­ses, the coun­sel­lor said, “These are in­ter­na­tional de­grees. They may not be valid in In­dia but they are valid world­wide. We have been of­fer­ing these de­grees for sev­eral years but no one has ever ques­tioned their va­lid­ity.” I n i t s re­sponse t o an RTI ap­pli­ca­tion filed by HT’s Jee­van Prakash Sharma, the Univer­sity Grants Com­mis­sion had no in­for­ma­tion to share on ap­provals for col­lab­o­ra­tions be­tween In­dian and in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tutes. Here is the full text of the RTI ap­pli­ca­tion and UGC’s re­sponse, signed by Mri­g­anka Sekhar Sarma, ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer, and Dharam Vir Ya­dav, sec­tion of­fi­cer. UGC’s re­ply: No in­for­ma­tion is avail­able UGC’s re­ply: No in­for­ma­tion is avail­able UGC’s re­ply: No in­for­ma­tion is avail­able

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