New Delhi: Indian educational institutions that plan to collaborate with Chinese counterparts must now get clearance from the Ministries of Home and External Affairs before signing any agreements or undertaking student and faculty exchange programmes. The new guidelines would also apply to existing tie-ups, the University Grants Commission made clear this week.
The Centre’s directive comes just ahead of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to India to hold an informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which is expected to take place at Mamallapuram on October 11 and 12.
In a letter to the vice chancellors of all universities, UGC secretary Rajnish Jain notified them of a directive from the Human Resource Development Ministry. “In addition to other clearances, prior approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs must be taken by all the academic institutions and universities before signing of MoUs, educational exchange programme, agreements, joint declaration of intent or letter of intent with Chinese institutions or universities,” the ministry said in its directive.
The UGC letter added that those universities — including private universities — which have already entered into MoUs must seek clearance from the Home ministry for operating the MoU. Until the clearance is obtained, no further activities should be performed under the MoU, warned the letter.
A number of Indian universities already have faculty and student exchange programmes, apart from Chinese language centres run in collaboration with universities in China, although the exact number of such agreements is not known.
India and China signed an umbrella agreement for educational cooperation in 2006, under which government scholarships are awarded to 25 students, by both sides, in recognised institutions of higher learning in each other’s country. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Beijing in May 2015, both countries signed an expanded Education Exchange Programme agreement which provides for enhanced cooperation in the field of vocational education and higher learning. Chinese students were also granted scholarships to study Hindi in India.
According to data from the Indian embassy in Beijing, this cooperation has also resulted in an increase in the number of Indian students in China, with more than 18 lakh Indian students enrolled at various Chinese universities in 2016-17.