Advertising Council finds 41 Educational Ads fake, false, misleading, unsubstantiated

Advertising Standards Council of India [ASCI] has been receiving several complaints from parents and students against misleading claims being made in advertisement of various educational institutions pertaining to guaranteed placement and passing, recognition and affiliation institution, ranking of the institutions, nomenclature of degrees etc.

In August 2015, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints in 41 advertisements in the Education category relating to misleading advertisements and unsubstantiated claims in nature of Ranking / Award / Recognitions/ Placement Claim / Success Claim / Skill Acquisition in Competitive Examinations.

The CCC found that claims in the advertisements by 41 advertisers were not substantiated and, thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions.

Hence complaints against these advertisements were UPHELD.

  1. Personaliteez: The advertisement’s claim, “Making 2 lakhs per weekend”, was not substantiated.
  1. Peoples Empowerment Group – ISB&M School of Technology: The claims in the advertisement, “100% Placement” and “ISB&M School of Technology Ranked 8th in Emerging Engineering Institutes in India”, were not substantiated.
  1. NIPS School of Hotel Management: The claims in the advertisement, “World Record Holder”, “Ranked No. 1 Eastern India the Pioneer Newpaper 2014”, “Best Placement Award- By South Asian Academy, New Delhi, 2012”, “Ranked No. 2 Among India’s Private Hotel Management Institute – The Pioneer Newspaper – 2013”, “Holder of Limca, Asia & India Books Of Records”, “Eastern India’s Best Hotel Management College- Awarded By Brands Academy, New Delhi – 2013”, “Winner 8th National Education Award- Awarded by NEA, New Delhi- 2014”, “Winner National W.B Education Award- Awarded by NEA, New Delhi – 2014” and “Worldwide Hospitality Award- Awarded by WWHA, Paris, France- 2003”, were not adequately substantiated with evidence.
  1. The Mentor’s Academy: The claims in the advertisement stating, “Get a reputed Government job. Get Bank, Railway, Police etc. in just one day exam”, and “100% Money Back Guarantee”, were not substantiated.
  1. CL Educate Ltd (Career Launcher): The claims in the advertisement stating, “CAT Test Series – The No.1 CAT Test Series Program”, “Most recommended test series”, “Rated the best by students” and “True percentile predictor”, were not substantiated adequately.
  1. SCMS School of Engineering & Technology: The claim, “Kerala’s No. 1 Engineering College (SF) in quality and excellence”, was not substantiated with comparative data.. The claim, “SCMS is ranked No. 1 in all ranking surveys conducted by RECCA-NIT”, was not substantiated with supporting data and also the claim is misleading by omission of what the ranking was specific to.
  1. Invertis University: The advertisement claims, “National Education Award 2014 for Outstanding B-School & Engg. Univ. – ABP”, “4 Star Ranking – The Pioneer”, “Bharat Shiksh Ratan – Velidicted by GAF, Delhi” and “Best Emerging University Of North India – Indian Achievers Podium”, were not adequately substantiated and were misleading by omission of disclaimers.
  1. Career Institute for Commerce & Accounting: The claim in the Advertisement, “AIR- 26, 30, 36, 37, 41, 42” as a declaration is considered to be fake and not substantiated with supporting data.

Complaints against advertisements of all educational institutes listed below mostly are UPHELD because of unsubstantiated claims that they ‘provide 100% placement/AND/OR they claim to be the No.1 in their respective fields’:

Vidyalankar Classes, Vivekananda Degree & PG College, Aim Entertainment Acting Academy, Learn & Earn Academy, Master of Science Information & Technology, Mediit Educational Institute, ADCC Infocad Private Limited (ADCC Academy), Wisdom Institute, Sri Shakthi Institute Of Engineering & Technology, Ponjesly College of Engineering, Vidyalankar Classes, One Dream, Blue Bells Innovative School, UEI Global Education, Tajinder Bhatia Achieve Max, Vidya Knowledge Park, MIST Plus, Happy Child College of Nursing, Sai Wellness Education, The Prayag International Institute of Hotel &Tourism, All India Computer Trainers Association, IPCA Accountancy, Millennium Institute of Management, Banda Para College Medical, KIPM College of Engineering & Technology, ISC CNC Training Centre, Chalapathi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, National Power Training Institute Corporate Centre, Centre for Bioinformatics, SKML Defence Academy, Mangayarkarasi Educational Trust (Mangayarkarasi College of Arts & Science), NIV Foundations (NIV School of Hospitality Management) and Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies (Delhi School of Business).

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) was established in 1985. One of the important functions of ASCI to ensure the protection of the interests of consumers in various categories. ASCI has therefore laid down guidelines with a view to achieve the acceptance of fair advertising practices in the best interests of the ultimate consumer.

 The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI deals with complaints received from Consumers and Industry, against Advertisements which are considered as False, Misleading, Indecent, Illegal, leading to Unsafe practices, or Unfair to competition, and consequently in contravention of the ASCI Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising.

ASCI is also the “Executive Arm” of the Department of Consumer Affairs handling all complaints pertaining to misleading advertisements.

EduLegaL View:

 Advertisements surprisingly have become one of most important medium to attract students recently amongst educational institutions. A career has lot of emotions attached to it. Parents make great personal sacrifices to enable their children to get the right education. Advertisements play a big role in deciding an Institution and it is required that it should be a responsible step devoid of inducements and falsehoods. 

But my issue is, what next, what is the action that will be taken against these educational institutions, who have indulged in misleading publications and advertisements and what about the students who found themselves on the wrong side relying upon the advertisements. 

There is no effective legislation in place, which deals with these situations. MHRD look into the matter and bring effective legislation to ban such ads and take effective actions against the Institutions.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in |

Class 10th pass student has right to get admitted in Class 11th in same School: Supreme Court

In a recent landmark ruling by Supreme Court, a student who has studied till Class 10th in any school has been granted the right to be admitted in Class 11th in the same school.

Though Supreme Court dismissed the Petition of a similarly placed students, due to peculiar facts and circumstance of the case, however, in landmark observation, is held as under:

“ Before parting with the order, it goes without saying that the students who study up to Class X in any school whether aided or non-aided, such students are entitled to get admission in Class XI in the same school unless he or she declines before the admission is closed. However, in which stream they are to be admitted, it depends upon their merits and performance that shall be decided by the school authority.”

In the present case, a student had filed case against a Chandigarh based private school for not giving admission in “medical stream” citing ‘low aptitude’ for the said stream, instead was offered “commerce stream”. The student being aggrieved had first approached the High Court unsuccessfully before filing SLP in Supreme Court.

EduLegaL View:

Many private school throw their Class 11th Standards open for public to attract meritorious students to improve results and standings. In this pursuit, a student having studied till class 10th in a school is denied the opportunity to continue in the School.

This Judgement echoes the larger cause of the student community. Class 11thand 12th being critical for a child’s future, it is important that a student is comfortable in the learning ecosystem. Sudden change on the basis of some aptitude test or scholastic evaluation may disturb a student, affecting his career.

However, many states in the country follow “Centralised Admission Process” for admission to class 11th. We need to understand the impact of this Judgement on such existing systems.

The Judgement is also balanced in the sense that it also entitles the School to decide the stream depending on merit and performance.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Ranking Framework for Universities released under NIRF

After releasing the Framework for Engineering Institutions on the day of launch of National Institutional Framework by MHRD, followed by Ranking Framework for Pharmacy and Architecture Institutions, MHRD has now released the framework for Universities and colleges.

India has a complex University / College Structure. Though UGC Act, 1956 defines University, as one established and incorporated under Central / State law, however it also empowers MHRD to recognize certain Institutions as Deemed University. This legislative provisions has ensured that we have Central and State Universities, which are funded / aided by Government. India also has Private and Deemed-to-be-Universities. The Central, Private and Deemed Universities are generally Unitary in character with schools in many disciplines, each of which individually offers all levels of degree programs: from Bachelor’s to the Doctoral. The State Universities are “affiliating” in character where there are several colleges, both undergraduate and post graduate colleges leading to a Bachelor’s / Master’s degrees (and some times Diplomas) in a variety of disciplines like Sciences, Arts, Engineering and others.

UGC, which is the regulator for Universities with a larger objective to improve ranking of Indian universities in World University Rankings appointed Expert Committee for developing a ranking system for colleges and universities based on National Institutional Ranking Framework developed by the Core Committee appointed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

UGC in recent communication to the Educational Institutions had urged the Vice Chancellors for personal indulgence and asked them to register their universities on NIRF portal and provide data as per the instructions. Universities were also requested to direct the colleges affiliated to the University to register, so that the national ranking could be made available to the students from the next academic session.

UGC highlighting the importance of participation in the Ranking Framework process said, “You may agree that providing the best learning experience in the ideal environment is the ultimate objective of every higher learning institution. The objective becomes all the more highlighted when institutions are constantly adjudged on the basis of excellence in teaching and learning, excellence in research, innovations and excellence in management. With regards to this, Ministry of Human Resource Development has come up with National Institute Ranking Framework for universities and colleges, which will evaluate them on quantifiable parameters leading to ranking of institutions”.

The National Institutional Ranking Framework [NIRF] outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country. The methodology draws from the overall recommendations broad understanding arrived at by a Core Committee set up by MHRD, to identify the broad parameters for ranking various universities and institutions. The parameters broadly cover “Teaching, Learning and Resources,” “Research and Professional Practices,” “Graduation Outcomes,” “Outreach and Inclusivity,” and “Perception”.

NIRF is projected to enable parents, students, teachers, educational institutions and other stakeholders to rank institutions on basis of set objectives, in a transparent process.

EduLegaL View:

The Framework has come with clarification by way of statement, “ Thousands of institutions would volunteer themselves to the ranking exercise with an aim to assess themselves on the qualitative parameters…”

This is good, as till now it was appearing, as it was another mandatory participating process, burdening the Institutions. Now the Institutions can take a long breath. But the question is, will any Institutions even dare to ignore this “voluntary” request.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

RTI Act is not applicable to Deemed Universities: Karnataka High Court

The High Court of Karnataka setting aside the Judgement of Central Information Commission has held that Manipal University (MU), which is as Institution Deemed to be University does not come under the purview of the Right To Information (RTI) Act, 2005.

Pursuant to an Application by an advocate, regarding the number of students admitted to Pharma Courses, the University had responded saying that it was not covered within the scope of RTI Act, 2005 and hence is not bound to disclose the information. The Applicant being aggrieved, took the matter to Central Information Commission and the Commission was pleased to pass following order:

“It appears from Section 3 that deemed Universities are declared to be so by notification in the official Gazette by the Central Government. Of this is the case, then a deemed University may come with in the definition of “Public Authority”. As mentioned earlier, “Public Authority” does include any authority or body established or constituted by notification issued by the appropriate Government.”……………… “”University” means a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act, and includes any such institution as may, in consultation with the University concerned, be recognized by the Commission in accordance with the regulations made in this behalf under this Act. Manipal University by virtue of being a Deemed University is a Public authority as defined under the RTI act.”

 Being aggrieved, Manipal University had challenged the Order before the Karnataka High Court seeking declaration that Right to Information Act, 2005 is not applicable to the petitioner-university.

It was argued that University is a private educational institution, which is neither owned, controlled nor substantially financed by the Government. The nature of the control of the Government over the petitioner – University is only regulatory and not otherwise.

It was also contended that a Deemed to be University comes into existence by an Executive Charter and not by way of legislation as is usually done in case of Universities. It was argued that Central Information Commission did not consider the fine line of distinction between the University recognized under the UGC Act and the University established by the Central or a State Act.

The High Court while ruling in favour of the University accepted the argument that the Petitioner University and held that:

“ Given the above facts and circumstances and the legal arguments canvassed by the learned Senior Advocate, it would have to be accepted that the petitioner is a ‘Deemed to be University’ and recognized as such under the UGC Act and it is not established under the Act unlike a University, which is generally established under a statute either under a Central Government Act or State Government Act and therefore it could not be confused with any other University which may be so established. It is neither controlled or financed by the State Government and it is certainly a private institution with its own management and control and therefore, the same cannot be brought under the purview of the definition of a ‘public authority’ as contained under the RTI Act. Hence, it would not be tenable for the respondents to proceed as if the petitioner came under the definition of ‘public authority’ in having issued directions in the impugned order.”

Accordingly, it allowed the Writ Petition and quashed the impugned order.

EduLegaL View:

Though, I agree in principle with the Judgement, but I wish the High Court would also dealt with another important aspect in the definition of “Public Authority”, which deals with Notifications.

Section 2[h] of the Act, which defines “Public Authority” reads as under: “Public Authority” means any authority or body or institution of self- government established or constituted: a. By or under the Constitution, b. By any other law made by Parliament; c. By any other law made by State Legislature; d. By notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any: (i) Body owned, controlled or substantially financed; (ii) Non-Government Organisation substantially financed directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government.”

Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, which provides for the constitution of Deemed Universities, reads as follows:-

“The Central Government may, on the advice of the Commission, declare by notification in the Official Gazette, that any institution for higher education, other than a University, shall be deemed to be a University for the purpose of this Act, and on such a declaration being made, all the provisions of this Act shall apply to such institution as if it were a University within the meaning of clause (f) of Section 2.”

It is clear that “a notification” establishes a Deemed University, which is a common element in Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956 and Section 2[h] of RTI Act, 2005. Some discussion on this issue by the High Court would have settled the issue.

Any ways, till then the Argument may continue!

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

From old NAAC to new NIRF – Warning to avoid fraudsters continues

Earlier, it was NAAC which had issued warning / caution notice cautioning the Institutions, from getting trapped by unauthorized agencies, which claim to impart tricks for getting A grade, preparing SSRs and also making up deficiencies.

The newly launched National Institutional Ranking Framework [NIRF] it seems has also met the same fate. MHRD within few weeks of its launch has issued a strong caution notice to the Institution to avoid tricksters.

NIRF

 

MHRD in its release has mentioned that it has received information that some private companies have started conducting training programmes and workshops on NIRF charging exorbitant amount as registration fee.

MHRD has clarified that NIRF has no association with any of these private companies. It has also informed the stake holders that NIRF portal hosts detailed documentation consisting of NIRF reports on various categories of institutions, help manuals, FAQ, etc. that would help institutions and organisations to understand methodologies for providing data required for ranking of universities.

Ranking Framework released for Pharmacy and Architecture Institutions

AICTE, under the aegis of MHRD has released the Parameters and Metrics for Ranking for Pharmacy and Architecture Institutions as part of the National Institutional Ranking Framework.

Earlier, MHRD vide Notification dated 09.10.2014, MHRD had constituted a Committee to suggest a National Framework for performance measurement and ranking of Institutions and Programmes conducted by the Institutions. The Committee was also asked to suggest organizational structure, institutional mechanism and processes for implementation along with time-lines of the National Ranking Framework.

The Committee was of the view that a single ranking framework for complex and diverse education scenario of institutions, as exist in India would be counter productive and meaningless. Hence it decided to follow apple-to-apple approach and proceeded to design a framework in which institutions belonging to different sectoral fields, such as Engineering, Management, etc. should be compared separately in their own respective peer groups. Comprehensive universities, which encompass a large number of academic programs including Arts, Humanities, Sciences etc., should similarly form a separate peer group for comparison. Resultantly, it decided to release Ranking Framework, Parameters and Metrics separately for each category of Institutions.

MHRD then formally, on 29.09.2015 launched the National Institutional Ranking Framework and also released the Parameters and Metrics for Engineering and Management Institutions.

Recently, AICTE, the regulator for Architecture and Pharmacy Education in India has released Parameters and Metrics for Ranking for Pharmacy and Architecture Institutions. The Framework provides that for the purpose of Ranking the Institutions will be divided two categories, first being engaged in Research and Teaching and second being engaged primarily in Teaching.

The Institutions will be assessed and ranked under five broad headings: (1) Teaching, Learning and Resources; (2) Research, Consulting and Collaborative Performance; (3) Graduation Outcomes; (4) Outreach and Inclusivity and (5) Perception.

MHRD has also rolled out participation in Ranking Framework for the Institutions, which are accredited/affiliated to the AICTE/UGC and has also made available a web-based platform the same. The process of submission and participation in the framework has begun from 2nd November 2015.

EduLegaL View:

I have always said that there exists body for assessment and accreditation in this country, like NAAC and NBA and hence MHRD should have attempted to integrate these processes instead of creating separate framework.

A closer look at the term of reference of the Committee, which designed this Framework, also includes, “Suggest linkages with NAAC and NBA, if any.”, as one of the terms of reference. I wonder what has happened to this term of reference.

The Administrators must understand that burdening educational institutions with continued and different assessment is not going to add to their quality, but will reduce their quality.

So where are we going? What are we trying to achieve?

Failed by Tandon Committee, passed by NAAC

Finally, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)  has brought some good news to several students of 38 Deemed Universities, which were sought to be de-recognised on the basis of the Tandon Committee report, as NAAC has assessed and graded these Deemed Universities after assessment by a robust scientific procedure.

In the year 2006, one Viplav Sharma, had filed a PIL in Supreme Court challenging the manner in which Deemed University status was granted to the Institutions u/s 3 of UGC Act, 1956. During the course of proceedings, MHRD had appointed a Committee headed by Dr. P N Tandon to review the  functioning of the Deemed Universities in  India.

In October 2009, a committee of experts, headed by PN Tandon, reviewed deemed universities and classified those under three categories, firstly 38 deemed universities which justified their continuation, second 44 deemed universities which needed to rectify deficiencies over a three year period and thirdly another 44 deemed universities which the committee felt don’t have the quality to continue the status and were recommended to de-recognised.

These 44 Deemed Universities then rushed to Supreme Court challenging the findings of the Tandon Committee and also the legality / validity of appointment of Tandon Committee. The case then continued for next 6 years, with clod looming large on the existence of these Deemed Universities.

The Supreme Court in the year 2014 without setting aside the Tandon Committee had asked UGC to consider the Reports and submits its own findings. Later, UGC was also taken to task by the Supreme Court for the manner in which it assessed the Deemed Universities, which was similar to that of Tandon Committee.

Eventually vide its Order dated 23.04.2015, SC had directed the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) to decide within two weeks the matter of accreditation of deemed universities, who were placed under category ‘C’ by the P N Tandon committee and were recommended for de-recognition of deemed status.

The direction of the Apex Court was significant in light go the fact that NAAC Executive Committee on January 5, 2013 that the council shall not assess and accredit the deemed universities whose cases are pending before the Supreme Court and will wait for the court’s decision.  The time for assessment and accreditation was extended from time to time on request by NAAC.

Finally on 08.09.2015, in a significant order, Supreme Court exempted the Deemed Universities to making a statement of compliance in respect of UGC [ Institutions Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2010, as the validity and legality of the Regulations was under challenge before judicial forums.

Resultantly, the C Category Deemed Universities submitted themselves to the process of assessment and accreditation. NAAC assesses Institutions on seven criteria as part of the assessment procedures:   1] Curricular Aspects;  2] Teaching-Learning and Evaluation 3] Research, Consultancy and Extension 4] Infrastructure and Learning Resources 5] Student Support and Progression 6] Governance, Leadership and Management 7] Innovations and Best Practices.

Institutions are graded for each Key Aspect under four categories, viz. A, B, C and D, denoting Very good, Good, Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory levels respectively. The summated score for all the Key Aspects under a Criterion is then calculated with the appropriate weightage applied to it and the GPA is worked out for the Criterion. The Cumulative GPA (CGPA), which gives the final Assessment Outcome, is then calculated from the seven GPAs pertaining to the seven criteria, after applying the prescribed weightage to each Criterion.

On the last hearing on 19.11.2015, the Court was informed that accreditation process has been completed. The Court then directed NAAC to publish the gradation result on its website.

In compliance of the order, NAAC has published the accreditation result of the Deemed Universities.

17 out of 38 Deemed Universities, which were recommended to be de-recognised by Tandon Committee has secured Grade “A”. 20 Universities have achieved Grade “B” and One University has been awarded “C” Grade.

EduLegal View:  

This conclusively proves that the “drawing room” method of out-sourced assessment by Tandon Committee was completely flawed. Eventually, the law of the country prevailed and Institutions have been given justice after long tiring struggle of 6 years.

In true words, meaning, mandate and manifestation of law and supremacy of a regulator has been achieved.

NAAC warns Institutions to refrain from Plagiarism in SSR

National Assessment and Accreditation Council [NAAC] taking cognizance of complaints regarding “made up” informations and contents in Self Study Report submitted by the Institutions has warned the Institutions to refrain from venturing into plagiarism.

NAAC in recent past has taken several steps to strengthen the process of Assessment and Accreditation [A&A], which includes compulsory video recording of visits of the Peer Team to the Institutions. It had also issued cautionary Public Notice warning the Institutions about some mischievous agencies, which were conducting workshops claiming assistance in getting Grade “A” and helping in preparing SSR by making up data and contents.

The Revised Procedure of Assessment and Accreditation now involves submitting Letter of Intent (LOI) after uploading the Self-study Report (SSR) on the institutional website. Upon acceptance of LOI, the institution has to submit the SSR within two weeks and thereafter Peer Team visits for the purpose of Assessment followed by the declaration of Accreditation.

NAAC has developed different manuals which provide information on how the self-study report (SSR) is to be prepared, the criteria and key aspects to be addressed and the style of presentation. Still, SSR Preparation it seems has developed as big market and so called experts are helping in preparation and sale of SSRs for a big sum, with colleges ready to bear and cover these expenses.

SSR is the most critical document for the purpose of accreditation. It is like an answer sheet. It contains the vision and mission statement of the Institution, its strengths, infrastructure, facilities and amenities. It also draws the future plan of Institutions. NAAC has found that some Institutions are copying contents from SSR, which are available on the website of participating institutions and passing it as their own.

Considering the importance of SSR in process of Assessment and Accreditation and continuing with the cleansing measure, NAAC after receiving complaints regarding unfair practices of Plagiarism adopted by institutions in the preparation of the self-study report has therefore requested the Institutions to ensure that all claims made in the self-study report are validated prior to its submission to NAAC.

It has also resolved and sent a strong message that any institution indulging in any unfair practice will be debarred from applying for accreditation.

Being debarred from applying for accreditation will mean havoc for erring Institution, as under the UGC (Mandatory Assessment and accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012, which makes it mandatory for educational institutions to participate in accreditation process, any Institution which is not participating in process of Accreditation will be subject to punitive measures, which may include withholding of grant, revocation of affiliation.

EduLegal View

Before, I give my view, please know that one of the questions in the SSR to be submitted by the Institution is as follows:

3.4.6 What is the official policy of the university to check malpractices and plagiarism in research? Mention the number of plagiarism cases reported and action taken.

It is ironical that the erring participating Institution, which would obviously speak epics in answering the question, would indulge in plagiarism.

Plagiarism is like a sin, it is an act of fraud, and it is an Intellectual Theft and must be dealt with strongly. It is utter violation of institutional and academic ethics. Laws are inadequate to deal with these situations. It has been handled by executive orders. Even the UGC Accreditation Regulations, 2012 does not have any express provision for the same. It is high time that Centre must bring in effective law to deal with malpractices and unfair trade practices in educational institutions.

Foreign Degrees of Short Duration due to credit transfer, credit exemptions will now be recognized in India: AIU

Since degrees awarded by an Indian University are generally recognized by all universities in the country, there is no major problem on this account. But issue arises when a student has achieved a degree from Foreign University and seeks recognition of that degree in India.

Initially, the equivalence was accorded by the AIU on course-to-course basis only after the proposal for equivalence of foreign qualification was received from an Indian Mission aboard or from the university concerned.

As the mobility of students increased across a wide range of universities in many different countries and the number of cases seeking AIU equivalence multiplied, the then practice of case by case evaluation of each request was found time consuming and unsustainable. The policy was therefore changed to recognize the system of education on the basis of such parameters as (a) Eligibility requirements for admission; (b) Duration of the programme; and (c) Accreditation status of the University concerned.

Recognizing the difficulties faced by students on account of the fact that many a foreign universities allow students to complete their programme of studies in less than the prescribed duration either due to exemption from certain number of credits, or due to acceptance of certain credits already taken or because a student is permitted to take certain credits during vacation etc, the AIU has in depth considered the issue of degrees awarded in lesser duration in terms of years of studies than applicable in case of Indian universities and has resolved to accord equivalence the foreign degrees in cases where the prescribed programme duration is at least the same as prescribed in India but a student was awarded degree within a shorter duration due to credit transfer, exemption and summer/winter courses, AIU has decided to grant certain relaxation in according equivalence in the following situations:

(a) Degrees awarded in lesser duration in terms of years of studies than applicable in case of Indian universities even though the student may have completed all the credits specified by the university and/or the semesters as applicable in case of Indian universities: Keeping the requirements of minimum duration of degrees in consideration, the duration should, instead of being measured in terms of precise number of months/years, be measured in terms of completion of the number of Semesters/Trimesters and all such cases where the degrees have been awarded upon completion of as many semester/trimester as are prescribed in case of Indian universities be awarded equivalence;

(b) Degrees awarded where the University has accepted credits taken by students from other universities/degree-awarding institutions including those in India: As acceptance of credits and credit transfer is a normal practice in most foreign universities and that the same is also being encouraged in India, the AIU may accord equivalence to such foreign degrees where the duration have been shortened on account of credits accepted by the foreign universities so long as the degrees awarded by foreign universities meets all other parameters specified by the AIU;

(c) Degrees awarded where the University has granted exemption to the student from certain number of credits or certain number of semesters: Given the fact that foreign universities grant exemptions to their students on the basis of their academic records/ attainment/transfers from other higher educational institutions, the AIU has decided to grant equivalence to such foreign degrees where the duration have been shortened on account of exemption granted by the foreign universities so long as the degree meets all other parameters specified by the AIU.

Students having obtained their Qualifications/Degrees from Foreign Universities may apply for the Equivalence Certificate from AIU in the prescribed Form. Equivalence is however subject to other conditions as laid down by AIU

EduLegaL View:

Credit Transfer Recognition has been a big issue in India and the new Regulations are really a ray of new hope for Indian Students. This will allow the students to come to back to India. In absence of the recognition, they were forced in remain in foreign country and seek employment. “Brain Gain” and not “Brain Drain” is underlying manifestation of the new Regulations. These relaxations would enable thousands of students to return to India to pursue further studies here or get employment.

Earlier, AIU Equivalence required foreign courses to be done in full-time regular mode with durations same as specified by UGC, which meant traditional 3 years for Under-Graduate and 2 Years Post Graduate Courses.

However, some foreign universities conduct master’s programmes of 20 to 22 months, allowing the students to study during summer or winter vacations or take extra courses in a semester. Such courses were not recognised in India earlier. Now AIU has considered a departure and it will now be recognized in India.

About AIU:

AIU is the only body in India, which is recognized to grant Equivalence of Degrees awarded by the Foreign Universities. Acknowledging its role and work the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India (GOI) vide their letter No. F.15-17/94-TS IV dated 13th March 1995 issued a Notification that“those foreign qualifications which are recognized/equated by the AIU, are treated as recognized for the purpose of employment to post and services under the Central Government”.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

‘Imprint India’- an IIT & IISC Contemporary Research Initiative to be launched tomorrow

IMPacting Research INnovation and Technology (IMPRINT), is a first-of-its-kind Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative to develop a roadmap for research to solve major engineering and technology challenges in ten technology domains relevant to India will be launched by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee  tomorrow (November 5, 2015) at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

It is a Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) project to address the major engineering challenges that India must address and champion to enable, empower and embolden the nation for inclusive growth and self-reliance.

IMPRINT India will focus on ten themes which have immediate social relevance, with each to be coordinated by one IIT/IISc, namely:-

(a) Health Care – IIT Kharagpur,

(b) Computer Science and ICT – IIT Kharagpur,

(c) Advance Materials – IIT Kanpur,

(d) Water Resources and River systems – IIT Kanpur,

(e) Sustainable Urban Design – IIT Roorkee,

(f) Defence – IIT Madras,

(g) Manufacturing – IIT Madras,

(h) Nano-technology Hardware- IIT Bombay,

(i) Environmental Science and Climate Change – IISc, Bangalore and

(j) Energy Security – IIT Bombay.

Before embarking on a real technology development mission, it is prudent to define the goal, create a strategy and draw a pragmatic roadmap. Hence this novel initiative, the first phase, comprises a twofold mandate of. Firstly it is about developing new engineering education policy. Secondly it is to create a roadmap including infrastructure readiness to pursue these selected challenges.

The idea of ‘IMPRINT India’ is based on suggestion that research done by institutions of national importance must be linked with immediate requirements of the society at large. The objectives of this initiative is to  (1) identify areas of immediate relevance to society requiring innovation, (2) direct scientific research into identified areas, (3) ensure higher funding support for research into these areas and (4) measure outcomes of the research effort with reference to impact on the standard of living in the rural/urban areas.

EduLegaL View:

It is a great step in pursuit of Research India, a really welcome one ! But I would like to see some more initiatives, which involve industry, private players in this domain. More of a Public-Private Initiative.

For the meantine, it is well begun !