Oh No!!! India is to reverse the earlier decision of a bridging course for UK 1-year Masters. Shorter degrees will remain un-recognised in India. Another messed up “education” decision by Smriti Irani’s Ministry…

Minister Irani has been in controversies over her disputed academic qualifications and false declarations. By continuing to un-recognise shorter UK Master degrees, she can now get back at Rahul Gandhi (to whom she lost in the elections). Rahul earned his MPhil from Cambridge in 1995 and the duration of the same was 1 year.

The BJP Government is reversing the UPA Government’s decision to offer a “Bridge” solution for shorter UK degrees.

The Telegraph reports today (Delhi Tit for Tat)

India is rethinking its commitment to recognise the one-year master’s degrees awarded in Britain because British universities do not universally accept Indian Class XII certificates, sources told The Telegraph.

Education minister Smriti Irani has told high commissioner James David Bevan that all British campuses must start admitting Indian undergraduates on the strength of their Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) certificates, officials said.

During a visit by British Prime Minister David Cameron in February last year, the Manmohan Singh government had agreed to recognise the one-year degrees so their holders could pursue further education or secure government jobs in India.

This was to be done through a bridge course —whose duration was tentatively fixed at six months in November — to be designed by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

However, sources said, the Narendra Modi government is not keen to go ahead with its predecessor’s commitment without a quid pro quo on undergraduate admissions in Britain.

Although several British universities — including Oxford, Warwick and Durham — have of late begun recognising CBSE certificates, some like Cambridge and the London School of Economics are holding out.

I am often accused of being the shadow opposition to Ministry of HRD and have aired my views on the their various reversals to the decisions of UPA’s HRD Minister (even if they were progressive). However this particular topic is very close to my heart and trade and even with the previous regime, I was an active proponent for giving equivalence to well-earned foreign qualifications.

Background:

In April 2012, I did a blog titled Shocker: India states that UK Master Degrees as NOT Master equivalent; British Council “helpless”!!!

This was the first piece of writing in the public domain highlighting the issue and was quickly followed up by various newspaper/magazine articles and some of my subsequent blogs. (Please do a Google to see the history of the issue.)

Non-equivalence of the shorter UK (primarily English) degrees both at the Undergraduate (Engineering) and Postgraduate (almost all Masters) means that the students even from leading Universities and after obtaining some of the most sought after degrees were deemed in-valid in India. A linked situation is also of those who undertake the various pathway lead diploma to degrees in UK where the first year of the Bachelors is undertaken within the University but at a pathway provider (often Study Group, Kaplan or Navitas). This means that students who have such qualifications are restricted to work in the family businesses or private sector in India and are only able to undertake the further education with lowly “newly setup” private Universities in India. They are not able to join academia (work as Professors etc…) in India and in some cases, even undertake business ventures such as setting up a petrol pump as that requires a 4 year Engineering Degree.

Several UK returned students took out online petitions (backed by me) and raised the issue with the then Minister for HRD, Mr Shashi Tharoor. Efforts were mobilised even in UK by the Universities and that led to Prime Minister Cameron raising the issue with the Indian Government during his visit.

When the bridging solution was proposed, I had pointed out the shortcomings and had predicted that it will fail. (see link). However, I expected improvements and plugging of the shortcomings and certainly not a full reversal of the proposal altogether and return of the Ministry’s stand that any Masters of less than 2 years will be invalid in India. For it to have greater take-up it would need to be a solution for all returning students with shorter programs and from around the world. I also believe that the differences of systems and new developments in course durations and delivery of such programs need to be better understood on part of AIU.

What I am even more concerned with is that such students and their genuine problem is being ignored and an attempt is being made to negotiate the full equivalence to Indian CBSE Year 12 with the A Level so that CBSE graduating students are able to seek admission in all UK Universities. Once again, the reality is that almost all Universities (barring Cambridge and possibly LSE) are accepting CBSE Year 12 for direct entry already. Further India is not going to recognise the degrees, why is even trying to ask for admission equivalence for Indian Year 12. And in any-case, while India can continue to negotiate, they don’t need to put the issue of equivalence of UK degrees on the bargaining table since it is going to affect over thousands of Indian students who go to UK each year. On the other hand the total number of Indian students who are disqualified from apply to Cambridge of LSE just because their Year 12 was from CBSE is miniscule.

Post Script:

While I don’t’ want to analyse The Telegraph article for its factual accuracy, I do wish to point out two small but important errors:

  • The Indian student numbers going out to UK on an annual basis from India is much lower than what has been reported in the article. The data presented is of the “Indian students studying in UK in that year” and not “Indian students who travelled to UK “in” that year”. The actual HESA statistics for Indian students going to UK in each of the year on their first visa of Higher Education is as follows:
    2008/09: 18480
    2009/10: 18195
    2010/11: 18535
    2011/12: 13250
    2012/13: 10235
    Actual HESA downloaded stats is attached 280607_student_sfr197_1213_table_6a-2-1.
  • The article mentions that Oxford, Cambridge and LSE offer two year degrees. This is half-correct. LSE has several 1 year Master degrees and those students are also affected. In-fact the petition that was taken out to Ministry last year was by an LSE graduate. Cambridge MPhil degrees that can be the first step to academic career in India are also 1 year long. Hence the students from LSE and Cambridge are also affected.

53 Comments

  1. This is Rakesh Kumar. Actually I have done my masters MBA-IT from United Kingdom. Now I am looking for the degree validation in india so could u plz let me know what is the appropriate solution for this??

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    1. Rakesh, the process is to apply to AIU (Association of Indian Universities) (look up the internet for their contact details) for an equivalence certificate. As much as I know, it is not going to be possible to get an equivalence for your qualification as India does not recognise 1 year UK Masters as a Master degree.

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      1. Sir their is six months bridge course for UK master courses. And I think 6 months internship for MBA holder to get the equavilence from Association Of Indian Universities.I have contacted with Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar for bridge course but they refused. I am confused whether I will go with bridge course or internship?

        Thanks and Regards
        Rakesh Kumar

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  2. I don’t get it.India and UK are part of the Washington Accord (for engineering degrees) and they should realize that not all 2 year degrees necessarily impart the knowledge required to advance one’s career. I planned to apply for my masters in engineering(Msc) in UK. If the course is just over 12 months (one course says 60 weeks which is roughly 13.6 months) is it still not going to be recognized by AIU?

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  3. @ Mr.Ravi Lochan Singh,

    My name is Hema from Mumbai. I had done my B.Sc computer systems from Nottingham as a top up degree (1 year). I am currently doing B.ed Special education in India which is a 1 year course. The University allowed my admission and I finished my first semester including exams. I have 5 months left for the course to be completed. Now, 10 days back they asked for an equivalent certificate from AIU. And then I came to know about the petitions and everything in getting an equivalence. Now what am I supposed to do at this point of time, having finished 50% of the course?

    Hema

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    1. I can understand the frustration at this. Firstly from your message it appears that the College in India did not ask you for the equivalence certificate at the time of admission and you were not even aware of its requirement. If so, you can certainly write to the Mumbai University if the college is not able to help. However, this might also not result in much as the University will ask for the equivalence certificate. Secondly, AIU and MHRD are to be formally approached so that they give in writing that they will not grant the equivalence. Thereafter, if I was in your place, I would certainly seek answers as to why I was made to lose time and opportunity and would even consider filing a PIL in court. Several parties are involved. The UK University should have informed at the time of admission if they were recruiting in India. I believe it is their responsibility to be fair and keep the student informed. I am surprised that even today none of the UK Universities inform or put out the disclaimer to the student at the time of counselling or recruitment even when they are all aware that the degrees may not be valid in India (especially the top-ups or partially done programs and the Masters and shorter Bachelors).The Indian bank should not have issued the forex and education loan for a program unrecognised in India. The Indian University that admitted you for the BEd should not have admitted you on a conditional basis… I do feel that the full system is allowing things to happen knowingly.

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    2. Sir, this is Hema from Mumbai. I had written to you sometime back that I was admitted for B.ed and after 50% of the course the university asked for equivalent certificate from AIU. At this point of time the university has asked me to complete all practicals and I am just left with only 3 theory papers which I wasn’t allowed to appear for since AIU is still under the process of forming a committee to discuss such issues. The university says that I will not get anything from the B.ed course if AIU doesn’t issue equivalence. I have submitted all the practicals as they said so and left with 3 theory papers. Please help if you are aware of any other alternatives. I am extremely stressed because the same B.ed which I just completed is becoming 2 years from now on. And if I have to do all over again I will need 5 years because then I will have to do an indian degree first. I won’t be able to work also for the next 5 years in that case. Please help.

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  4. I have done MBA (Industrial Management) from UK. It was a full time one year course but I completed the same course in two years and the same is mentioned on my degree. Can AIU issue me a equivalence certificate. Please reply.

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  5. Hello Sir, i have done B.tech (4 years) from a govt. university in India.Than after that i have done MBA full time of one year from Coventry university,UK. Please tell me, Is it will be considered as a Integrated MBA or i have to a bridge course. I read your article like Smriti is going to reverse the order of Bridge course, is that done or they are going to do.. please tell me what should i do or whom should i contact for the same.

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      1. They have told me at Guru Nanak university to apply for 6 months bridge course starting July 2015 in dept of molecular biology and biochemistry.

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  6. friends my name is Girish Kumar from Bangalore I am planning to put a case on this why cant we all join and put a case on banks who gave loan, consultancies who cheated us finally on government who finally made our life under stake…..if they don’t agree for our words then we all hang together

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  7. Hi Ravi Singh sir. In this article you said very well about how to get an education. Sir, I have completed my bachelor degree in computer science. And I want to go for higher education. Sir please suggest me about my career.

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  8. I am having 4 year bachelor degree in mechanical and I have got direct admission(Grenoble INP, France) to the 2nd year of master of science in fluid mechanics and energetic, Now my question is that if my master degree would be considered as valid/recognized same as to European system master degree of 90/120 ECTS? Will I be eligible to get admission in PhD with my masters degree of 60 ECTS?

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  9. Respected Sir

    Thank you so much for writing this blog last year , You saved my life , I was pursuing a 1 years Masters degree from the prestigious Imperial College London, but when I read your blog , I cancelled my admission and got full refund from Imperial .. Thanks again sir

    Now, by god’s grace , I am selected by UNESCO for a 2 years masters programme jointly hosted by AIT ,Bangkok and UNESCO-IHE ,Netherlands … I hope so there are no validity issues for Joint Masters progarmme of 2 years duration ????

    Hope to hear from you soon

    Thanks again

    Regards

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      1. Now, I am selected by UNESCO for a 2 years masters programme jointly hosted by AIT ,Bangkok and UNESCO-IHE ,Netherlands … I hope so there are no validity issues for Joint Masters /double degree masters progarmme of 2 years duration ???

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  10. Please help me with any update on bridge course or or validation of UK degree in India. I have done MSc from Leeds beckette univeristy.

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      1. Hi sir, I just read your blog saying the reversal of bridging course by the ministry. Is it true ? Because I approached AIU in February 2016 for equivalence and they guided me to check with Guru Nanak Dev university for bridging course of 6 months. They also told me if they offer this course for my subject, then my problem will be solved. Also I called university and they do offer the course. But reading this blog I was confused. Where shall I check for the validity of such a bridging course?

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  11. Sir its 2015 i m a bba student in 2016 i want to pursue mba from universal business school karjat mumbai. Fact is that mba degree is being offered from cardiff metropolitian university uk so now n in future
    Is this degree of mba from uk will be valid n legally recognize in india ? N most imp. Fact mba program is of 15 months not 1 yr like below comment guy rakesh kumar
    Reply me here or reply me at facebook
    Chirag raizada bhopal
    Reply soon sincerely waiting for reply

    Like

  12. Hello sir,
    I am Annie Kaur a final semester student pursuing bsc home science from Delhi university. I plan to apply in the universities of UK for masters in clinical nutrition or sports nutrition. I want to know if my degree going to be recognized in India ? Will I be able to get jobs based on my masters in UK ?

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  13. Hi Ravi Sir,
    I am planning for MSc degree in UK in information system.I have completed my B.E(IT) and having 4 yrs of experience. From what i read above, wanted to clear that UK degree is not recognised in India in government sector or private sector as well?
    Will it not enhance my job opporutnities in IT industry?

    Like

  14. No, I think it is fair. To be honest, it is not one year. That one year depends upon the completion of masters degree, where, one has to score 50% in the examination, in which case, we are allowed to take up the project work. Including Project, the course work amounts to one year duration. Otherwise, it is pass with diploma level.

    Besides, once the examination is over, we are not allowed to take up the job.

    As I have already stated in the previous blog, this degree is not to change the field but sort of crash course, where, experts of field get to know the research environment here.

    And you mentioned earlier, that Indian Phds are better, which is correct. After coming here, I found that many things, how much we don’t value our own teacher.

    And yes, it was not that I was not having success in India. I did clear IIIT-bangaloe and was short listed for S P Jain PGPM program. But, then, fate awaits something else.

    I just hope that I don’t have to wait for too long to get a job, as 30 lakhs always haunts me.

    Like

  15. This is Hitesh dasani. Actually I’m going to do mba from india only and just want to know is that the degree will be recognised In uk or not? As I want a placement over there.

    Like

  16. I have received offers from UCL for 1 year Masters in Economics and 2year Masters in Economics from LSE.Which is better”? From your article, I believe LSE is the better choice even though it would be expensive.
    Suresh

    Like

  17. Is a UK 3 year B.Eng with a year in industry that makes the duration of the course 4 years, valid and equivalent to an Indian Engineering programme?

    Like

  18. Couldn’t have asked for anything better today! Thanks for this amazing article. The insights helped me sort out a lot. Made notes and shall be using the tips right away! 🙂

    Like

  19. Hi. I was wondering if it is possible to get all such students together. I recently filed a petition in Delhi high court and that would probably take long​ to settle. Are you familiar with other such court cases?
    My problem is before 2015 this problem was not even publicized. UGC sends people for Commonwealth scholarship to the UK for masters and before 2015 it never bothered to inform students that it is not equivalent.

    Like

    1. Dear Diksha,

      Please email me on ravi@globalreachonline.com . Though I am not aware of any court petition till date, I would like to support you in your endeavour as am keen to bring a solution to this issue. I believe that if the court issues a directive to the MHRD, they will then be in turn able to take a firm call. If the studies are not going to be considered recognised as equivalent, then the government should stop sending students on the MHRD scholarships and further the Indian banks should not be giving education loans and forex. The institutions which actively promote themselves should alert the students in advance too. I have very strong views that there is a duty of care on part of all parties. Alongwith the issue of Masters of less than 2 years, there is a need to include the studies completed at Bachelors level where pathways have been used. Almost all Universities around the world have arrangements where students can package degrees where the initial part is conducted at a pathway or diploma institution followed by remaining at the University. Such Bachelors are also not recognised and we have large numbers of students who find that they can’t even pursue a Masters in India thereafter.

      Like

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