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India-UK Education Pact: Expanding Opportunities and Collaborations

September 16, 2022 | Immigration

India and UK have signed an education pact, part of a larger treaty agreement, that seeks to recognize educational qualifications gained in both countries and ease collaboration rules.

India and the United Kingdom (UK) signed a historic pact earlier this year to recognize each other’s higher education qualifications with a synced 10-year-roadmap over a broader attempt to solidify bilateral ties.

The UK remains a big educational hub of quality education for many Indians studying various programmes. Indian students have been arriving in record numbers post the onset of pandemic for their university studies. The rise coincided with the UK Government’s offer of a 2-year post-study work visa.

Roadmap of the pact on education

Under the signed pact, the following are the key points agreed upon:
  • Agreeing mutual recognition of educational qualifications in light of India’s New Education Policy (NEP).
  • Mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
  • Two-way mobility of students, researchers and faculties. Paves the way for British students who may visit India to study and for other academic pursuits.
  • Enhanced co-operation between the two nations in strengthening the role of women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) at schools, universities, and research institutions leading to equal and non-discriminatory participation of women.
  • Simplification of education regulatory frameworks for better collaboration, embracing online courses, introducing vocational training into mainstream education.
  • Enhanced partnerships for research and innovation activity – from basic to interdisciplinary research.
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed to create a task force providing Indian nurses and nursing associates with the opportunity to train and work in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
  • Indian students graduating from British universities can embark towards government careers that demand university qualification in India.
  • Easing accessibility barriers for pursuing higher education in the UK.

How will Indian universities benefit?

Through the pact, Indian universities are certain to benefit in the following ways:

  • After the onset of the pandemic, digital platforms became the preferred mode of education and collaborations with foreign universities will help Indian universities enhance technology to provide better digital learning.
  • Foreign university collaborations can help bridge the demand–supply gap in India. India’s student population is far beyond the number of seats and institutions available. UK universities can help in building better educational capacities through collaborations and help bridge the gap.
  • Tailored partnerships are possible to enhance specific departmental and programme strengths. For example, strengthening the medical study programme in India.  
  • Easy transition of students from both countries leading to increased trade and investment flows resulting in more jobs and economic prosperity.
  • Foreign collaborations enhance the pedagogical skills of the Indian teaching community as well; such collaborations mean that Indian faculty is exposed to foreign teaching leading to specialized training and certification for courses.
  • Universities with foreign collaborations immediately appeal to the student population as they get unique opportunities to programmes which may possibly provide them with a head start in their career.
  • Foreign education has a flexible and practical approach in terms of the combinations of subjects that they can provide – leading to varied career opportunities. India, and specifically the new NEP, can learn from this and attempt to incorporate it in their own curriculum.

Changes in Regulation

The University Grants Commission of India (UGC) has brought about some changes in the regulatory regime to ensure better international collaboration. The proposed amendments have been forth in the UGC (Academic Collaboration between India & Foreign Higher Education Institutions to offer Joint Degree, Dual Degree, and Twining Programmes) Regulations, 2022.

The amendments are proposed to govern twinning programmes, joint degree and dual degree programmes to be offered jointly by Indian and foreign universities.

Twinning programmes

  • Enroll in a degree programme in an Indian university and an opportunity to undergo an exchange programme with the partner/collaborated university.
  • Complete 30% of the court credits at the foreign university. Applicable to foreign students coming to India as well.
  • Degree to be provided by the Indian university.
  • Regulation only applies to full time courses in offline mode.

Removal of Approvals

  • Previous regulations mandated UGC’s nod before approval for collaborations.
  • In case of professional programmes and disciplines such as medicine, engineering and law, approval of relevant statutory bodies will be necessary.

Dual Degrees

  • Enable students to study two degrees of the same discipline at the same level. This is possible by completing 30% of their course credits with the foreign university partner. For example, a student enrolled in a BA English programme in an Indian university can pursue part of the course at a foreign institution. For this, the student will be awarded two degrees, separately, by both institutions.
  • This is not to be construed as separate degree programmes in separate disciplines or subject areas. One cannot pursue BSc Math and BA English, for example.

Eligibility Criteria for Collaboration

  • Any Indian institute accredited by the National Assessment & Accreditation Council (NAAC) with a minimum score of 3.01/4.00; OR
  • Features in the top 1,000 of Times Higher Education or QS World University Rankings will be eligible for collaboration.
  • For Indian institutes, being in the top 100 of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) is also acceptable.
  • Office for international affairs are mandatory for such institutions.
  • Foreign institutes entering a collaboration must rank in the top 1,000 of two universally recognized world university rankings.


Recognising that the UK will always be a favorable study-abroad destination for Indian students, the governments of the two countries have used this to their advantage and enhanced collaborations, making the UK even more attractive to Indian students. The developments in education collaborations are part of an extravagant treaty-pact that looks to secure India and UK relations over the next decade.

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