India and the United Kingdom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to recognise each other's educational certifications, including A-levels (Class 12), bachelors and master's. In particular, this move is expected to resolve the long-standing issue of "equivalence" for one-year master's degrees and encourage more Indians to apply to UK universities in the future.
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To put things in context, one-year master's degrees from the UK have not been considered equal to the two-year master's degree offered in India. Students with a one-year master's degree from the UK have had to apply for an "equivalence certificate" from the Association of Indian Universities. Students with one-year UK master's have also been out of consideration for government jobs or PhDs in India.
“A recognised degree will enable Indian students to use their full credentials while applying for a government role. The government recognising UK degrees is also good for undergraduate students who want to do their masters in India as India will fully recognise the credits earned in the UK," said Piyush Bhartiya, co-founder of AdmitKard, an ed-tech platform.
Nevertheless, professional degrees in engineering, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, law and architecture have not been covered under the new MoU.
United Kingdom is a major destination for Indian students. Among non-EU countries, India is the second-biggest source of students after China. According to the UK government data, Indian students represented 19% of all non-EU enrolments in 2020/21 - from less than 20,000 students in 2016/17 to over 84,000 in 2020/21.
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"This agreement builds on our UK-India partnership and removes barriers so even more of the best and brightest students from India can study in the UK," said Secretary of State for Education James Cleverly.
The UK government is seeing the new MoU as a major boost for its education sector in the post-Brexit era.
According to its communique, the move is expected to attract more international students, particularly from India. "The benefit to the UK of welcoming non-EU students is estimated by industry to be around 109,000 pound per person," as per the UK government communique.