Higher Education in India

I was delighted to be joined by Sajai Singh, a senior Partner at Mills & Reeve’s best friend firm in India, J Sagar Associates (“JSA”), for the first webinar in our international series looking at key developments and opportunities in the higher education sector. Sajai gave us a useful insight into how UK universities can participate in India. He highlighted the difficulties for UK universities in setting up a campus in India but recommended various other forms of collaboration and underlined some of the easiest ways for UK universities to have a presence in India. In this blog I set out a few of the highlights.

Working together – Mills & Reeve and JSA

Mills & Reeve is delighted to work with JSA in India to offer bespoke education advice to our UK clients and we welcome any enquiries about the Indian education market. Please get in touch with Poppy Short to hear how Mills & Reeve and JSA can assist you. 

Some of the highlights on collaborating in India

  • Foreign universities are not currently authorised to open a campus in India to provide degree programmes, and Sajai does not envisage this changing any time soon.
  • Collaborating with Indian universities is currently the only way for international institutions to participate in India and for their courses to be recognised in India.
  • The UGC (Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Higher Education Institutions to offer Joint Degree, Dual Degree, and Twinning Programmes) Regulations 2022 (“UGC Regulations 2022”), was notified on 2 May 2022 and regulates foreign higher education institutions (“Foreign HEI”) that offer courses and programmes in India.
  • Foreign HEIs can only offer joint degrees, dual degrees, and twinning programmes by collaborating with Indian HEIs. A typical collaboration would be where there are Indian students studying a course in India, but they are able to obtain their degree from a foreign (for example, UK) university.
  • There are various requirements to comply with the UGC Regulations 2022 and careful structuring and advice is required to ensure all issues (including permanent establishment) are considered.
  • Since the UGC Regulations 2022 came into force, 48 foreign HEIs have shown interest in the UGC’s initiative for running joint and dual degree programmes in partnership with Indian HEIs. Among the 48 HEIs is the University of Glasgow and the University of Cambridge.

Are there other forms of collaboration and opportunities in India that would be relevant to UK Universities?

As well as the regulated collaboration arrangements outlined above, there are unregulated means by which foreign HEIs can enter the Indian education market:

  • If online courses are conducted by a foreign HEI, they are not regulated by the UGC. Online courses are only regulated by the UGC if they are conducted online in India for Indian students. It is important to note that a degree obtained from an online course provided by a foreign HEI may not be recognised in India as it is not regulated by the UGC, but a foreign degree is still beneficial to students who are seeking employment.
  • Other unregulated structures that continue to be available in India are Edtech companies, licensing structures, and credit transfer programmes.

The above is a high level summary of some current issues; anyone considering these matters should always seek specific legal advice, which we would be very happy to discuss with you further.  Finally, to sign up to other webinars in our series on global HE strategy, do visit our events page.

For more information contact: Poppy Short ([email protected])


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Every piece of content we create is correct on the date it’s published but please don’t rely on it as legal advice. If you’d like to speak to us about your own legal requirements, please contact one of our expert lawyers.

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