Internationalising Higher Education
The Union Cabinet has approved last week the Memorandum of Understanding signed on mutual recognition of academic qualifications between India and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Union Cabinet in its meeting held on 07.09.2022 chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi granted ex post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on mutual recognition of academic qualifications signed on 25.04.2022.
Mutual Recognition of Qualifications between India and the UK aims to promote academic collaboration and student mobility. The request from the UK side to grant recognition to their One Year Masters Programme was considered, and during the meeting between the Education Ministers of the two countries held on 16 December 2020 in New Delhi, a decision was taken to set up a joint task force for this purpose. The first meeting was held on 04th February, 2021 and subsequently after detailed deliberations and negotiations both sides agreed on the draft MoU.
The MoU aims to facilitate the mutual recognition of educational qualifications, periods of study undertaken, documents related to academic degrees/qualifications and accreditation by educational institutions within the two countries.
It is to be noted however that professional degrees like Engineering, Medicine, Nursing and Para-Medical Education, Pharmacy, Law, and Architecture are out of the purview of this MoU.
But, the MOU will facilitate establishment of Joint/Dual degree courses between Higher Education Institutions, one of Modi government’s key objectives under New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 for “Intel-nationalization of Education”.
The MOU, part of the UK-India Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) agreed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, means A-levels and their equivalents, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees will now be recognised in India.
Similarly, Indian senior secondary school or pre-university certificates will be accepted for entry to Britain’s higher education institutions.
The MoU on recognising educational qualifications will allow Indian students who graduate from British universities to apply for postgraduate courses or to embark on government careers requiring university qualifications on returning home.
This MoU will promote bilateral exchange of information about educational structure, programs and standards and increase mobility of students and professionals between the two countries. It will also encourage other areas of cooperation in the education sector, development of study programs as mutually agreed upon by the Parties.
This MoU shall recognize equivalence in accordance with parity with regard to acceptability of qualifications as approved under national policy, law, rules and regulations of the two countries.
The MoU is expected to increase the potential for British nationals to study in India and open the door for institutions to create courses that can be taught in both countries.
Incidentally, the UK and India are important destinations for each other’s students – in 2020/2021 the UK welcomed 84,555 Indian students to the UK and India is a popular destination for UK students to study abroad as part of the Turing Scheme international education programme.
The agreement will make UK universities even more appealing to Indian applicants and is likely to provide an economic boost, as the benefit to the UK of welcoming non-EU students is estimated by industry to be around £109,000 per person.
It will also increase the potential for UK nationals to travel to India to study, allowing them more choice and broadening their academic and educational horizons, as well as opening the door for institutions to create courses that can be delivered in both countries.
As Barbara Wickham, Director India, British Council, said: “The agreement of the mutual recognition of academic qualifications is a significant moment of celebration in the India-UK education relationship. The agreement simplifies continuation of academic study and recognition of credentials for employment, benefitting thousands of young people and talented students in both our countries. This will support even greater collaboration between our higher education sectors, nurture globally ready graduates through an increasingly internationalised education; and further enable joint education, research and innovation initiatives to explore solutions for shared global challenges. We are also delighted that this announcement comes during the ongoing India/UK Together, a Season of Culture – our landmark programme that marks India’s 75th year of Independence.”