An academic quit because she could not stomach how Universities treat International students… and detailed how low-English students are being recruited for bottom-lines.

“Recently I quit my academic job at XXXX University. One of my reasons was that I could no longer stomach how Australian universities treat international students. ” 

This is how Jenny Wright opens her blog. Here I am quoting from her blog in bits and pieces (that suits my theme) with her permission and all those who want to read about her should visit the blog.

“As a Program Manager in a course that attracts more international than local students, I have been the interface between students and the institution for a number of years. I’m the one who’s meant to come up with strategies when a student is struggling with their study. I have seen the same problems faced by international students for many years, and my attempts to change the situation have been stymied at every turn. Whenever I see an international student who is struggling, I feel overwhelmed by guilt and shame. I can’t do it any more.”


Our international students need to meet an English threshold to be admitted. There is a standardised test, called an IELTS test (there are others, but this is the most common in Australia). Our students must attain an average of 6.5 on the test results, with no band below 6.

Students who only just meet this criteria struggle in the classroom. They take a long time to read, and so get left behind in debates. They spend at least twice as much time reading than local students (and usually longer) and even then, their comprehension is poor when it comes to anything technical or sophisticated.

They are generally silent in class, because they can’t follow the conversation, or if they can, are ashamed to speak because they will be slow, or difficult to understand. It is extremely difficult for them to collaborate (and in my program, collaboration is key), and from a teacher’s perspective it is difficult to force inter-cultural collaborations when some of the students can’t communicate. This leads to the formation of class-based ghettos. The best English speaker will then emerge as the ‘spokesperson’ for a group of internationals, further silencing the ones who struggle.

The prevailing theory is that international students with poor English will quickly improve. Indeed, this is often the case – commencing students who are struggling in week 1 are usually much better by week 8 (although still facing significant academic hurdles). However a percentage of internationals do not improve. Indeed, as they become more ghettoised and isolated, their English can actually deteriorate.

Research is a compulsory aspect of a Masters by coursework degree under the Commonwealth government’s AQF framework. A certain type of international student finds this requirement extremely difficult. On top of the poor English, some students come from a very different educational system and struggle to understand the concept of research. The fail rate in our research methods course among this demographic is very high. We are constantly trying different things, but we are constrained by what policy and procedure allows.

It is difficult to explain what research is, develop an appropriate methodology, and develop a research idea, if a student cannot read sophisticated English, and relies on Google translate to fix their writing.

I have been shopping my concerns through the institution for at least two years. They are met by superficial commiseration, suggestions that I consult with someone else, and promises that it is on some agenda somewhere. Sometimes – very rarely – I have encountered other staff who are desperately concerned about it, but they simply share my frustration. I have never been invited to the high-level meetings that are allegedly occurring.

I am so annoyed and offended by the ‘run-around’ managerial technique which sends me off on a goose-chase to some other area. Another managerial technique that I have encountered way too often is to turn the ‘solution’ into a shit-load of work for yours truly. Since I have no power, it’s not even a solution. It’s just a way to shut me up.

I have formatted portions from her blog in a way that you can differentiate it from my comments. Now that she has listed the problem from an academic’s perspective, I am going to share her solutions along with my comments


The most obvious one is to raise the IELTS entry score. I am reliably informed that this will never happen because the University is too dependent on international students for income, and they know that a lot of our students struggle to meet 6.5. Indeed, some other universities have an IELTS score for a Master degree of only 6 – so XXXX already has a relatively high entry score.

I agree with Jenny that Universities tend to find short-cuts to the English requirements. She talks of Universities that even has a requirement of only IELTS score of 6.0 for Masters entry and thus her concern that 6.5 can also be low for several programs was non-considerable by her University.

I am going to shock Jenny here: Forget 6.5 or 6.0, there are Universities that have in the past waived the IELTS altogether if the student could provide an MOI letter. MOI is Medium of Instruction letter. This kind of letter is very easy to procure in India and it will be too simplistic to assume that the policy makers at the University were not aware that MOI letters mean non reflective of the English levels of the International students. Often it turned out that students who couldn’t meet the IELTS threshold ended up hiding the score and just providing the MOI letters. 

I did a blog on this in May (see link) and can say with some satisfaction that several Universities have stopped this practice from the next intake. At-least this is what I believed.

However bottom-lines do matter and recently I find several Universities finding another shortcut. They have begun to waive IELTS all together and now they do that for students from India who have studied at Indian Universities that are graded as Section 1 Institutions. I am all for selectively waiving the IELTS requirement for a student who has demonstrated through alternative means on their English Language Proficiency. But since when and how can an University believe that “all” students graduating from anan Indian University being in Section 1 possess an English Language level that is equal to atleast IELTS of 6.5. I can show them hundreds of students who graduate from Section 1 and will fail to even get an IELTS score of 6.0. The parameters for the institute qualifying as a Section 1 is around the academic abilities of the student and not English Language Proficiency. Further the Indian Universities are structured differently and unlike Australian Universities they have many colleges under them of varying quality.

The most popular solution is for students to continue learning English while doing their study. Indeed, I myself privately embraced this solution. At no cost the the university, I trained up as a TEFL English teacher and I used my consultation time to run English sessions for commencing students. The take-up of these sessions has been low. Our international students who are struggling have no extra time for more lessons. Although there probably would be a pay-off down the track, they are already exhausted and flat out with their compulsory coursework.

Yes and No. I know of International students who are aware that due to changes to the Permanent Residency requirements, they often require a higher IELTS to be eligible and thus if properly counselled, they will enrol in such programs. Students need to know why they are required to do what.

XXXX also has a centralised Study and Learning Centre which offers some help with English. Our students appear to under-utilise it.

Ultimately, we can never go down the path of obliging or expecting international students with poor English to do more English study. It is inequitable to expect some types of students to do more work than others. The bottom line is: if a student is not qualified to study a course, they should not be admitted. If they are admitted, the institution is failing in its duty of care. Indeed, it could almost be called a type of fraud. Institutions who promise that a student can get a qualification which they don’t have the ability to get are on very thin ice, not only morally but possibly legally too. Of course, universities earn as much, or even more, from students who fail, as from students who pass

Our international students come to us in good faith. The ‘barely 6.5’ students have no idea that their English standard is actually insufficient. It is only after they start their course, having invested huge sums of money, moved countries, and made huge promises to their families, that they realise that they can’t manage. It is too late for them to back out by that stage.

I find it very ironical that we are expecting the institutions to apply duty of care. At an address on the sidelines of the recent AIEC conference I spoke to over hundred policy makers from education providers and shared my frustration on how institutions often choose to ignore the duty of care and even the Standard 2 of the ESOS Act. My points at that event was around the fact that institutions hide the fact “knowingly” from Indian students who have commenced a Bachelors in Australian through a pathway or a D2D packaging that the program that they are studying or have been recruited to will not lead to a qualification that will allow them to pursue further studies in India or even be eligible for jobs that require an equivalence as a Bachelors. For years I have been lobbying for the institutions to ensure that students are pre-cautioned in all fairness but then almost half of the undergraduate students from India have arrived using a package.

The youtube of the speech that I made on the sidelines of AIEC event in Melbourne that I refer above is here…

(I may add here that my company that is also in the space has put out the Indian Government notification on our website and also has it pinned to top of the FB page.)  (see link to the notification.) 

Other solutions start with the premise of keeping the 6.5 score, but changing the course. These are more complex solutions which probably involve revision of Commonwealth policy. For example, we could have different qualifications for different English capabilities. We could have three-year Masters degrees, in which students with good English get credit for the first year. This would allow us to incorporate a discipline-specific English language program into the first year. Then we could potentially stream the 2nd and 3rd years so that students with poor English continue to build their English skill. The problem from the current policy perspective is that students from the different streams may not emerge with the same skill-set. Perhaps international students would not accept (or be prepared to pay for) an extra year. 

It is unrealistic to expect International students to study for a Masters that is longer to that offered to a domestic students. It will keep them from mingling with local students and further ghettoise them. Also the high cost of education will not work in recruitment efforts. 

At the very least, integrating discipline-specific English language teaching into the actual curriculum, rather than as an add-on, is necessary. It will require streaming, because we don’t want to alienate students who don’t need it. Again, this probably means a policy change.

I encourage you all to take a look at Jenny’s blog which has now also been quoted on SBS social media page. You may consider my comments above too. I look forward to your thoughts either emailed directly to me or through social media.

I also feel that 90% of students from the Indian sub-continent reach Australia with the intention to seek out post study work and possibly settlement. The current observation of the skill select system is that only those with a high IELTS have a fair chance. It is unrealistic to expect a student recruited with 5.5 in IELTS to actually lift his or her level to that of IELTS 7.0 after 2-3 years of studying in Australia. At most it might improve marginally by 0.5.

I believe that it is also time to re-pitch the Australian vocational sector to the International markets once again as students with low English proficiency are better fit for a more hands-on education format and unsuited for the Universities.

Let me wrap up this blog with the following further quotes from Jenny. As I stated above, I have only shared bits and pieces from it and you may consider visit the her blog for her full thoughts.

Potential students are often misled by agents and recruiters, whether it is about the academic aspects of their proposed study, or the life that awaits them in Australia.

International students don’t just subsidise the budgets of our universities, they are a huge source of foreign income for local, state and federal governments. There is a collusion amongst all these institutions to prop up an unethical system. Neither government nor university administration wishes to take this issue seriously. So long as the international students themselves (and/or their governments on their behalf) do not take their money elsewhere, there is no political desire to tackle the problem.


Posted by on November 25, 2016 in education


Demonetisation and the likely “short term” impact on the OVERSEAS EDUCATION demand from India.

I have been seen arguing in favour of steps to curb black money but at the same time have been critical of the way demonetisation was implemented. I have also stated that the likely benefits of demonetisation even in curbing black money, fake currencies or financing of criminal activities is largely overstated. However I am no economist and will want to be proven wrong.

This blog is my musing on the likely impact on the number of overseas bound Indian students.

Firstly let us consider two key drivers for OVERSEAS EDUCATION DEMAND:

  1. A guesstimate is that 90% of Indian students choose OVERSEAS STUDY as a PATHWAY TO WORK OR SETTLE OVERSEAS. They do this because they find limited opportunities in India and it has been seen that overseas education ultimately benefits the livelihood of their families even in India as large numbers do send back money once they are earning and the net inflow of forex into India over the student’s lifetime is far in excess of the outflow at the time of the overseas study.
  2. It has also been suggested that the fierce competition for limited number of places in “quality” Indian Institutions drive students to consider similar or better quality Institutions overseas where admission can be easier and thus suit students who have had an all-round education through school or college.

Now let us consider some “real” ways through which OVERSEAS STUDY is funded:

The cost of overseas education can vary from ₹ 15 lakh to 1 Crore “per annum” depending on where one studies and the program of study.

  • There are families that prioritise investment in their children’s education and many also have family savings over the years.

However most such savings are invested into property, shares/mutual funds, gold or fixed deposit till they are required. It is common for parents to encash them prior to the lodgement of the visa.

  • The property prices have increased significantly. Even village land in certain regions have suddenly seen an increased value with cities expanding into outer areas and land that is closer to highways. Look at the land prices in NCR especially and along the highway up north of Delhi.
  • The returns from such properties(after sale) is often partly in cash. It is a fact that over years, access to funds by way of families selling property or taking easier education loans against property is contributing to about 70% of funding of overseas education.

Funding for overseas education through black money also can’t be ruled out.

  • To camouflage this, students have been known to take education loans for visa purposes but actually use “other funds” to pay tuition fees or living expenses. Recent expose by Immigration NZ that I have detailed in my previous blogs indicate that there have been large numbers of students who have demonstrated an education loan for the visa but have not actually got that disbursed later or even if disbursed, they have not utilised the loan beyond the first payment. The sole reason for taking the education loan is that the students are not able to officially demonstrate “other funds” available with them.

So what will be the impact of demonetisation of ₹ 1000 and ₹ 500 currency notes on the demand and funding of OVERSEAS EDUCATION:

In an ambitious move to crack down on stock of illicit money (referred as Black Money), India announced on November 8th, 2016 that existing large-currency bills will no longer be valid, starting at midnight. This is being referred as demonetisation. A process to exchange the currency notes after due declaration was notified.

It is expected that in the short term (or maybe medium term), the economy may slow down.

By Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, Economic Times Bureau | Updated: Nov 23, 2016, 07.58 AM IST

The finance ministry is reported to have projected a fall in GDP growth to 5.5% in Q3 (the October-December quarter) against 7.2% in the same quarter last year. It hopes for a recovery after that. But world-class economists in investment banks are coming up with darker projections. With every day of detailed analysis, the mess looks bigger, and projections get darker. Initial projections of a fall in annual GDP of maybe 0.4% are now increasing to 1-2%. Hence, foreign institutional investors have pulled Rs 10,000 crore out of the stock market.

The darkest projection comes from Ambit Capital, which predicts that GDP growth in Q3 and Q4 will slow to just 0.5%, and may even turn negative. That would drag down GDP growth in the whole financial year to 3.5%, less than half the previous year’s 7.5%.

Less Black, But More Red

This implies a recessionary plunge. Ambit Capital thinks the adverse effects will continue into 2017-18, with GDP growth of no more than 5.8%.

Remember that the Great Recession after the collapse of Lehman Brothers cut India’s GDP growth from 9.5% in 2007-08 to 6.7% in 2008-09, with a recovery to 8.6% the next year. Ambit Capital is now projecting an economic dip much sharper than in the Great Recession, followed by a weaker recovery.

I think Ambit Capital is being too pessimistic. But nobody really knows. Given ‘jugaad’, I suspect people will find ways round their problems, and GDP growth may decline 1%. But even that means Rs 1,50,000 crore gone.

High-value notes account for 85% of all notes, equal to 10% of the money supply. Freezing such a huge proportion of money stock has been a massive shock to both consumption and production. It has dislocated activity in rural India, which is cash-based. It has wrecked value chains (from raw material producers to retailers) across all small business, which is overwhelmingly cash-based.

The stock market crash and worry about high-value notes have created a negative wealth effect. Elites feel poorer and so are spending less on highvalue goods, including cars, with knock-on effects on tyres and auto parts.

Demonetisation has shrunk demand via the money supply. Optimists thought shrinking demand would reduce prices. But since transporters are semi-paralysed, big local shortages have risen. Dilliwalas complain of higher prices for cement and steel, even as cement and steel companies crash in the stock market: both producers and consumers are losers.

Non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), which finance small businesses, face huge non-payments of up to 50%, and are in shock. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relaxed its norms for recognising bad loans. But NBFCs fear this may actually induce borrowers to stop payment, knowing there will be RBI forbearance.
The shortage of new currency notes may ease by December-end. But the economic effects will surely spill over into the next quarter, and maybe the whole of 2017.

Hitting black money has hit real estate, a legendary black money haven. But this has multiplier effects on the demand for steel, cement and other building inputs, with ripple effects on transport and housing finance. Employment data show that between 2004 and 2011, construction was the overwhelming source of additional employment. Agriculture and industry provided few additional jobs. This high-employment sector has been dealt a body blow.

Nor does it guarantee that black money will be eliminated from real estate. The new Rs 2,000 notes and gold coins may well take the place of Rs 1,000 notes in keeping real estate black.

My gut feel is that like the construction industry and for the very drivers for overseas education that I have stated at the start of this blog, the move to reduce the money supply is bound to affect the funding of overseas education in short term.

However there is also another aspect of demonetisation that might just work in neutralising this affect. It is expected that with banks suddenly being flush with funds will lower the interest rate for education loans and thus more will take education loans helping the demand for overseas education. I am yet to see a linkage between the interest rate for education loans and the quantum of education loans being taken. It may be true for housing loans but for education loans, the student who wishes to study overseas simply goes out and takes the education loans either genuinely or to demonstrate the availability of funds while may still pay the fees and expenses from “other funds”. Such students are not so concerned with the interest rates. I have heard of students borrowing funds for overseas education sometimes from non-banking sector for short term on interest as high as 3-4% per month.

Now the above impact can be only true if the move to demonetise the larger currency notes puts an end to the availability of “other funds” in the market “for good”.

  • The general feel is that the move may have an impact in short term though in medium and long term, the “other funds” will return. The move has only impacted the stock of black money and not the flow of black money. The new ₹ 2000 notes and gold coins may just take the place of the demonetised ₹ 1000 and ₹ 500 notes and it is already announced that new ₹ 1000 and ₹ 500 notes are also being introduced.
  • Also there is an inverse correlation with state of economy to jobs in India. With slowing of the economy expected to reduce new job openings in immediate term, there will be a greater desire to gain a qualification overseas as a pathway to work or settlement overseas.

Thus in conclusion, I expect an impact on demand for OVERSEAS EDUCATION from INDIA in short term but in medium to long term, there will not be any impact.


Oft mis-interpreted IIE Open Doors 2016 enrolment statistics… Sorting out the real data on Indian student numbers to US and its future post Trump…

Like each year, US released the enrolment statistics and confused many. Most “incorrectly” believe (including experts and student counsellors) that number of Indian students who went to US in 2015-16 was 165918. Just google and you will find enough media coverage re-hashed from the press release issued.

There is a lot of information in the Open Doors report (see fast-facts-2016 ) and can be some kind of a measure for planning but I find it bothersome that they leave out the actual and most relevant statistics that should be the way to gauge any growth or decline in interest in US Universities during that time. They don’t even mention this data in passing in the fact sheet.

Let me begin by explaining what is an “enrolment” that has been used for comparison:

Enrolment is not the “new students who commenced” during the year at the University. It is “new students” plus “any other students who may still be enrolled” at the University from previous years. Thus a PhD student may remain enrolled for several years and thus reflect in the statistics given out for all those years.

While it may still be useful to know as to the total number of students from a nationality in a country, it is incorrect way to compare primarily because the level of students being undertaken from certain countries can even include English Language students or pathway diplomas or community college diplomas while for other countries it may primarily be University students. We end up comparing apples with oranges. Indian students to any country rarely enrol only for English language preparation schools while that may not be true for other countries. Any student commencing at the language or even school level tends to remain enrolled for several more years in a country if we assume that a student beginning to learn english goes on to a community college and then to the University. Thus we continue to keep counting a student for several years and in the case of some countries because of the student being enrolled for additional years of education prior to the University, the count is for further years… Thus an Indian student commencing for Undergraduate degree is counted as enrolled for about 4 years while a Chinese student starting in a language school or pathway will get counted for about 6-7 years.

What is even more bothersome is that strategists and planners just pick this data of enrolments and pitch it against the data that is released by Australians or Kiwis or British or Canadians which is often the student visa grant numbers for the year. How absurd.

For the south-asian regions, the enrolment  statistics as presented by IIE Open Doors 2016 is as follows:

asia-open-doors-2016-copyHaving indicated the above, I want to re-emphasise on the importance of looking at “fresh starts” during the year as a better indicator of increasing or decreasing demand for the Universities in a particular country.

Talking of Indian student interest in USA, USA has done very well and I am now sharing the F1 (or simply speaking students) visa grant data for India from the official US source ( ).


So the actual number of student visas issued to Indian students for the full year was 74831 and this grew by over 32% over the previous year. The above chart also shows the decline and growth in interest which can be mapped against certain major developments in US.

Why I remain anti use of enrolment stats for US is that if enrolment stats are mapped similarly, it hides any immediate impacts on student numbers due to students already enrolled in the system from previous years.

I am also attaching the downloaded detailed country wise numbers here.


This data clearly indicates that the demand for US education has been on a steep increase in recent years and in terms of growth %, it is well more than what the 25% growth in enrolments leads us to believe.

Will this demand continue to sustain even post Donald Trump’s election remains a question mark. I am of the view that we need to note the following:

Trump’s campaign was often seen as anti migrants but when we take a closer look, it appears that he is often referring to illegal migrants only. He may have talked against outsourcing of American jobs or may have given an indication that he will prefer Americans being considered first for jobs before inviting workers from overseas. However at no point he is talking of tightening visas for students (especially students from South Asia). He has also generally projected himself as pro-India. My gut feel is that Indian student numbers to USA will continue to grow and even there will be no change with the current policies on OPT or pathway to H1B and Green card for graduating students from quality institutions. 

Since there is some talk of the possibility of changes to the H1B regulations and its possible impact on the Indian tech-industry, I share the following excerpt from an article in FIRSTPOST… I too believe that Trump’s position will change and some of the election posturing will get a bit diluted.

In summary, the business partnership between US and India possibly is at its best times given the huge technology opportunity in front of the world.

In my view, the industry will closely watch as to how Donald Trump steers the US Immigration Bill in terms of costs, free movement of skilled Indian workforce to the US, and limitations on the number of people that can work in the US. Indian technology industry has a significant presence in the US and continues to have Indian skill-force working for US clients through the H1-B visa regulations. Any downside changes in the US Immigration Bill would clearly have a negative impact on Indian technology companies.

Another aspect that needs to be seen is how will the Indian currency move. The overall balance of trade between India and the US will also play a key role. The currency factor is important for Indian technology companies given their dependency on export earnings. In my view, Donald Trump would mean good for business but one would need to carefully wait and watch how the policies play out especially on immigration, trade agreements with various countries and his engagement with Indian polity and businesses.

The strength and robustness of the Indian technology industry would be strong grounds for the US to continue to partner in areas of global innovation and technology. However, Indian technology companies would need to accelerate their adoption of newer technologies and shift gears on areas of artificial intelligence, cloud, etc, and leverage this opportunity to foster even closer ties with the US in the area of technology.


DIBP’s presentation at the AAERI event in Melbourne (19 Oct 2016) provides an interesting take on the evolving Indian / Nepalese market. (And I shared my concerns too…)

AAERI held its first reception in Australia on the sidelines of the just concluded AIEC conference. The reception was in some parts a sequel to the event that was held in Delhi in August where DIBP (New Delhi Post) had addressed a fairly large gathering of In-country members of the Education Providers along with Education agencies. Several travelling Australian Education Providers too had attended the event.

I refer to the Melbourne event as a sequel since it too had DIBP (Canberra) addressing a large gathering comprising senior members from the International teams of Education Providers and the visiting AAERI members. The focus was once again India and Nepal.

Developments since the introduction of the SSVF was the key focus at both events in the DIBP presentation.

In Melbourne, DIBP further shared updated statistics. What I found interesting was the 122% growth in VET students despite a mere 36% visa grant rate. Imagine if the grant had been more closer to the median, we could have seen a significant increase in overall student numbers well beyond the 9%. I remain positive still since the stats are mostly from the pre-SSVF period when the visa processes was fairly skewed in the unfavourable direction for the 572 sub-class. I do believe that with a focussed approach, quality TAFE institutions can once again hope for a higher visa success rate in the current SSVF period with clearer funding requirements in place. I am also a little surprised with a mere 24% visa grant rate for the school sector though overall student numbers remain understandably small from India.


I shall let you draw your own conclusions and thus sharing the full presentation video of the DIBP presentation sourced from the AAERI FB page.

At the AAERI event, I was also included to share my views in my capacity as the past president of AAERI and the current head of the visa subcommittee. As usual, my address was un-penned and I was determined to flag some of the major concerns that has bothered me about the industry and the future of Australian Education in the Indian market. As expected I did put it out loud and clear. I share that brief address here too for record…

The AAERI event was much more than just DIBP presentations on the Indian market. The fact that AAERI, despite all odds, has survived 20 years and continue to be a role model for various self-regulatory frameworks not just for Australia around the world but also for the other countries is by itself an acknowledgement of the position it occupies as a stake holder. Dr Tom Calma, the current Chancellor of University of Canberra was the chief guest at both the event. He is certainly credited with having conceived the idea of AAERI. Mr Rahul Gandhi, not of the Congress Party, as the current President of AAERI has done a commendable job of building on the foundations and I invite all subscribers to view the various speeches on the AAERI Facebook Page.

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Posted by on November 1, 2016 in education


With release of the DIBP 2015-16 statistics on student visas, we can foresee a flattening in student numbers over 2016-17. The growth in student numbers is largely due to declined refusal rate for India and Nepal.

Now that the full year (July-June) stats are released, there is a modest growth in student visas for India while a significant growth for Nepal. The increase in student visa grants from Nepal looks significant but that is largely due to significantly reduced refusal rate. The visa grant rate for Nepal for students outside of Australia jumped up from 69% to 88%.

I do believe that the coming months will see the plateau emerge in student visa numbers as there are not too many reasons for the numbers to keep shooting up. Nepal visa grant % can’t go up further. Indian student visa grant % may improve a little with SSVF though. I however expect the overall numbers from India to stabilise around 20,000 while that from Nepal will settle around 7000. This is more reasonable too and I believe we are at the highest point for the curve.




Full report can be found on this link.


AIU advisory on recognition of foreign degrees is a “must consider” by all overseas bound Indian students.

Students returning with a foreign qualification to India need to procure an equivalence certificate from AIU if they seek employment with Indian Public Service (through bodies such as UPSC), with Indian Banks, with Indian Universities, seek further education (such as Masters with Indian Universities after a Bachelors from overseas or PhD after a Masters from overseas) or enter into professions where they need to demonstrate that they hold a certain level of qualification. For such students it is advised that the qualification obtained is in accordance with the advisory below:

Evaluation Division, Association of Indian Universities (AIU)
AIU House, 16-Comrade Indrajit Gupta Marg, New Delhi – 110002


Students seeking admission in such Programmes of Studies which promise award of Foreign Qualifications/Degrees are, hereby, advised to ensure that these programmes meet the eligibility requirements for according Equivalence as specified by the Association of Indian Universities.

Students are advised to read the Information Brochure of the AIU on Equivalence of Foreign Qualification/Degrees which may be downloaded free of cost from the AIU website (

Given below is a gist of the eligibility requirements for equivalence of foreign qualifications/degrees and Students are ADVISED to ensure that the Programme of Studies and Institutions meet these requirements failing which the Equivalence shall not be granted


  1. Equivalence is granted only if (i) the foreign system of educationprescribes a minimum of 12 years of regular schooling; (ii) the school is affiliated by a Board that has been approved/recognised; (iii) the school leaving certificate has been issued by the Board that has been approved/ recognised/accredited in the country concerned;
  2. As American High School is not conducted by any Board, the School has to be accredited by one of the six recognised accrediting agencies in the United States.
  3. AIU shall accord equivalence to school level examinations on the fulfilment of the following conditions:

(a) the Minimum duration of the programme must be at least the same as prescribed for the corresponding level of qualification in India (i.e a minimum of 10 years of schooling for being equated with Secondary School Certificate Examination of the CBSE/other Boards in India; and a minimum of 12 years of Schooling for being equated with the Senior School Certificate Examination of the CBSE/other Boards in India);

(b) the candidate must have passed the Examination equivalent to the Grade 10 with a Minimum of 5 (five) subjects including English;

(c) the candidate must have passed the Examination equivalent to Grade 12 with a Minimum of 4 (Four) subjects except in case of the GCE ADVANCED (“A”) LEVEL Examination of the approved British Examination Bodies wherein the candidate must have passed the A Level examination with 2/3 subjects at Advanced Level; provided further that in case of Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education from Tanzania and Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education from Uganda which allow students to take courses at Principal and Subsidiary level, equivalence shall be issued by the AIU only if the students has obtained a minimum of two Principal and two Subsidiary Passes;

(d) the School Level examination has been conducted and certificate awarded by the Board/University duly approved and recognised by the Ministry of Education/concerned Ministry of the country to which the Board/University belong. Provided further that in case of the American High School Diploma where certificate is awarded by the School itself (not by any Board/University), the equivalence shall be given only if the School is accredited either by the State Department of Education in the United States or by one of the 6 (SIX) Regional Accrediting Agencies in the US, i.e. (i) Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges, (ii) New England Association of Schools and Colleges; (iii) North Central Association of Schools and Colleges; (iv) North West Association of Schools and Colleges; (v) Southern Association of School and Colleges; and (Western Association of Schools and Colleges)

IB Diploma/ Course (Certificate) AIU shall accord equivalence to both the IB Diploma and the IB Diploma Course (i.e. IB Certificate) provided that a student has secured a minimum of 24 credits and has passed a minimum of three subjects at Higher Level (HL) and three at Lower Level (SL);

4. Equivalence is not granted for qualifications that are awarded for studies undertaken OPEN/DISTANCE/ONLINE/VIRTUAL of HOME STUDIES/ PRIVATE Mode(s)/ certificate awarded in less than 12 years duration;


1. Equivalence is granted to students if he/she meets the following eligibility conditions: (a) The degree has been awarded by a university which is duly approved/recognised/accredited in its own country; (b) The student has pursued the programme of studies as a full time regular student on the campus of the university in the foreign country; (c) The minimum eligibility qualification for admission to the programme of the study is at least the same as prescribed in India; and (d) The duration of the programme of study is at least the same as prescribed in India;

2. The minimum prescribed duration and minimum eligibility of various Programmes of Studies in India, shall be such as are specified by the University Grants Commission (UGC) vide Gazette Notification published from time to time;

3. As of now, Equivalence is not accorded to foreign degrees awarded under DISTANCE/OPEN/ONLINE/VIRTUAL/HOME STUDIES/PRIVATE mode(s) etc.



1. Equivalence is granted only if the following conditions are fulfilled: (a) the foreign university awarding the degree must be duly approved/recognised by the competent authorities in its own country and/or must be duly accredited by the recognised accrediting agency in its own country; (b) the institute/college/university where studies were undertaken in India must be duly approved/recognised by the competent authorities in India and/ or duly accredited by the recognised accrediting agencies in India; (c) the institute/college/university where studies were undertaken in India must be duly approved by the competent authorities in India (UGC/AICTE/ Government of India) to award degree of the foreign university; (d) the degree has been awarded in accordance with the Rules & Regulations framed by the Statutory/Regulatory Bodies in India; (e) the student has completed his studies as a full time regular student throughout the prescribed duration of the programme of the studies; and (f) that all other parameters as laid down by AIU for according equivalence to foreign degrees have been fulfilled;


1. Equivalence is granted only if the following conditions are fulfilled: (a) the foreign university awarding the degree must be duly approved/recognized by the competent authorities in its own country and/or must be duly accredited by the recognised accrediting agency in its own country; (b) the offshore campus/collaborating educational institution where studies were undertaken must be duly approved/recognised by the competent authorities in the country where they are operating and/or is accredited by the accrediting agencies that has been duly recognised in that country; (c) the offshore campus/collaborating educational institution where studies were undertaken must be duly approved by the competent authorities in that country to award degree of the foreign university; (d) the degree has been awarded in accordance with the Rules & Regulations prescribed by the competent authorities of the country where the offshore campus/collaborating educational institution operates; (e) the student has completed his studies as a full time regular student throughout the prescribed duration of the programme of the studies; and (f) all other parameters as laid down by AIU for according equivalence to foreign degrees have been fulfilled;


1. Equivalence is granted only if the following conditions are fulfilled: (a) The Indian University must have obtained due approval/permission from the concerned appropriate regulatory bodies/competent authorities in India (UGC/AICTE/MHRD/Government of India) for establishing and operating the offshore campus/entering into such agreements/MoUs with collaborating educational institutions; (b) The programme of studies for which the degree has been awarded for studies undertaken in the offshore campus/collaborating institution abroad has been duly approved by the concerned appropriate regulatory bodies/competent authorities in India (UGC/AICTE/MHRD/Government of India); (c) The offshore campus/ collaborating educational institution abroad has been duly approved/ recognised by the competent authorities/regulatory bodies of that country and/or has been accredited by the accrediting agency duly recognised in that country; (d) the degree has been awarded in accordance with the Rules & Regulations prescribed by the competent authorities of india as well as by the competent authorities/regulatory bodies of the country where the offshore campus/collaborating educational institution operates; (e) the student has completed his studies as a full time regular student throughout the prescribed duration of the programme of the studies; and (f) all other parameters as laid down by AIU for according equivalence to foreign degrees have been fulfilled;


1. As of now, the AIU does NOT accord Equivalence to such degrees offered by the foreign universities where students are admitted through pathway/ diploma level institutions;


1. As of now, the AIU does NOT accord Equivalence to such foreign degrees that have been obtained for studies undertaken through open/distance/ correspondence/online/virtual modes(s) etc ;


1. AIU does not entertain applications for equivalence of such professional degrees awarded by foreign universities which also entitle the holder of the degree to practice a profession in India.

2. Thus, degrees in disciplines like Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Law, Architecture etc are presently outside the purview of the AIU as such cases are handled by the respective professional councils;

Issued in Public Interest on 25.07.2016 by the
Evaluation Division Association of Indian Universities (AIU) New Delhi, India;

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Posted by on September 18, 2016 in education


Australia’s major STEM push: 5 extra migration points for Research Masters and Doctors… Good initiative.

From 10th September 2016 Australia will be awarding additional 5 points in the Skilled points test (489, 189 and 190 visas) for Doctorate/Masters study in certain STEM streams.

The amendment to the points test will enhance the pathway to permanent residence for students who have completed Doctoral or Masters by research-level qualifications in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) or specified information and communication technology (ICT) related fields in Australia.

The current points test will be amended to award additional points for Doctorate and Masters by research-level qualifications gained from Australian universities in STEM, specified ICT and other related fields.

The following fields of education qualifications are proposed to be accepted under this new measure and are defined by the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS):

Field of Education:

Biological Sciences
Chemical Sciences
Earth Sciences
Mathematical Sciences
Natural and Physical Sciences
Other Natural and Physical Sciences
Physics and Astronomy
Computer Science
Information Systems
Information Technology
Other Information Technology
Aerospace Engineering and Technology
Civil Engineering
Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Technology
Engineering and Related Technologies
Geomatic Engineering
Manufacturing Engineering and Technology
Maritime Engineering and Technology
Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Technology
Other Engineering and Related Technologies
Process and Resources Engineering.

Graduates who want to determine whether their qualification is eligible are able to search the CRICOS website. If their qualification is at Doctorate or Masters by research-level and their field of education is listed in the above table then they will be eligible for five additional points towards their points test.




Posted by on September 6, 2016 in education