NEW DELHI: The Centre has, once again, decided to refuse a proposal by the UK government to recognise 1-year Master's degree programme offered by majority of the British universities at par with India’s post-graduation degree.
The UK government had sent the proposal to the Union Human Resources Development ministry following a first-of its kind agreement between India and France for degree recognition that also saw India giving assent to a same duration Master's degrees by some French Universities.
Officials in the ministry however told NIE that while France had also agreed to recognise India's schooling programme with 12-year duration even as it has 13-year old schooling, UK has not offered any such exchange.
The development comes at a time when the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on his three-country tour to Europe, including the UK, where the bilateral meetings will include discussions on mutual co-operation on several areas including education.
“Officially we have not conveyed our stand to the UK government yet and will do it in next few weeks,” an official said.
The ministry, in 2016 as well, had refused a similar proposal by the UK.
The official also said that last month, India and France had agreed to treat each other's academic degrees as equivalent for higher studies and jobs, the first such initiative to facilitate the mobility of students between the two countries.
“India, till its agreement with France, had not signed such an agreement with any country, keeping in view the difference in the durations of academic programmes offered by the host institutions there,” he said.
India and France have reached a consensus despite difference in the durations of academic programmes.
“For example, school education in France is for 13 years while it is 12 years in India. Some universities in France are offering one-year masters' courses, which will be treated as the equivalent of the two-year masters' programme in India,” another official in the higher education department added.
“In the wake of this agreement, UK government had approached us but we have had major concerns with the proposal,” he added. “If we agree (to the proposal) people will deep pockets can go and earn a Master’s degree in one year but that what benefit it will serve to majority of our students?” he asked.
Prerna Samarth, an education consultants meanwhile pointed out that along with visa restriction, non-recognition of 1 year Master’s degree is the key reason why less than 15,000 students move out to UK every year for higher studies.