Now, universities will need top ratings for foreign collaborations
JOINT EFFORT AICTE regulations for twinning courses require an Indian institution to have a valid NBA grade for one year
Universities seeking twinning programmes with foreign academic i nstitutes now need top accreditation grades and approvals f rom re gulatory agencies.
T h e U n i ve r s i t y G r a n t s Commission ( UGC) recently issued regulations on the collaborations, although the AllIndia Council for Technical Education ( AICTE) already has provisions for such tie-ups. Through these collaborations universities aim to increase synergy between Indian and foreign academic institutions, i mprove t heir curriculum, delivery of knowledge and educational content. Students also get additional choices.
The UGC ( Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Educational I nstit uti ons) Re gulations 2016, say t hat Indian universities and colleges with the highest grade of accreditation and those confor ming to other eligibility conditions laid down in the regulations can apply online to the UGC to start twinning arrangements with foreign educational institutions (FEIs).
AICTE regulations for tech- nical twinning programme require an Indian university department or institution to have a valid National Board of Accreditation (NBA) accreditation for one year beyond April 10, 2017 for the course in which it seeks twinning.
No foreign universities and institutions can carry out any educational activity in India to award programmes (diploma, postgraduate diploma, degree, postgraduate degree, postgraduate diploma, doctoral) without specific approval from AICTE.
Foreign universities need accreditation by authorised agencies in their country before they start offering technical courses.
The twinning programmes that offer degree or postgraduate de g ree, diploma, postgraduate diploma will have the same nomenclature as in their country.
Also, there will be no change in the academic curriculum, mode of delivery, pattern of examination, etc.
The courses also need to be recognised in their country. The foreign institution and the Indian partner institution will have to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to offer twinning courses. Besides, the Indian institution and the concerned affiliating university/ board of technical education in the respective states also have to sign MoUs for this purpose. The degree will be awarded by the foreign institution and in its parent country.
According to Anil D Sahasrabudhe, chair man, AICTE, t he t winning pro- grammes will help students get exposure to what is being followed globally in the education sector. They will be able to improve their capabilities, become globally competitive and more employable.
“Institutions can get the best of the two systems of education, learn lessons, improve the quality of education and get better branding,” he says.
As per the Association of I ndian Universities ( AIU), educational institutions have to adhere to UGC regulations and/ or AICTE guidelines if they want equivalence for foreign degrees awarded for studies undertaken in India.
“One important aspect is wherever such collaboration is done, a student has to spend at least one semester in a foreign institute in case of a two-year (four-semester) programme or a one year (two semesters) course in case of a four- year ( eightsemester) programme. This gives excellent first-hand experience of foreign education to students,” says Sahasrabudhe. University of Edinburgh, known for its research, is attracting a number of Indians through its massive open online courses or MOOCs. And they’re logging on to learn lessons on two vastly different themes – philosophy and football!
Of the 2.2 million participants on Edinburgh MOOCs, an average of 7% of overall participants have come from India. This translates as 150,000 overall enrolments and 75,000 active participants across all courses on all platforms used by the university, including EdX and Coursera.
Prof Sir Timothy O’Shea, principal and vice chancellor of the university, who is currently researching MOOCs, expresses surprise at the Indians’ interest l evels. For Coursera’s Introduction to Philosophy, Indians comprise 6.1% of 33,6298 visitors and 12,3189 active learners. For Football, More Than a Game by FutureLearn, 9% of 619 joiners are Indians. “High school students join as learners asking what it might be like in university as they don’t have philosophy in school,” he adds.
Involved with e-learning for a long time O’Shea says he was “lucky” to be in Stanford in 2012 when the first successful MOOC was done to reach more than 100,000 people.
And there have been no end to surprises. The best course completion numbers were logged at Edinburgh University’s MOOC on I ntroduction t o Equine Nutrition. People “came from all over. It was a bit obscure, really, and we t hought t he reason was that a majority of people who were doing it had a horse and everybody was serious. They wanted to have a better understanding of how to feed their horses or alternatively they were interested in serious veterinary studies. So it had very good retention,” he says. On future MOOCs, using the ecology metaphor, O’Shea’s view is that they will fit into the university ecology. It will be like the important lecture series on campuses but with more access for anyone who chooses t o attend. He also expects MOOCs to be included in undergraduate courses.
At Edinburgh, video material from a MOOC with Nobel laureate Peter Higgs (he of the Higgs Boson fame) on understanding of the Higgs Boson was used for one of the university’s UG programmes.
MOOCs will also be increasingly used with flipped classrooms, predicts O’Shea. Lectures are going to be recorded and students will come to class just to interact with each other and ask questions. They will be an important part of a university’s ecology, he adds.
The ideal scenario would be to have courses similar to the one started by Arizona State University for people who do not have the right qualifications and get them ready to go to university – “So its going to be a set of MOOCs on writing and reading skills to get you into university. We know we need more access courses in all countries. We have a problem with students from poorer families who find it hard to get the right credentials to get them ready to start university. These are the places for MOOCs to exist, though I don’t think they will kill the conventional courses, O’Shea says.