Announced in a memorandum by the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development, the decision is a reversal of the current position of the Association of Indian Universities, the country’s recognising body, that a degree must be obtained at a single institution.
“It’s a good result for the long-term advocacy by the sector”
Universities Australia deputy chief executive Anne-Marie Lansdown told The PIE News the move to recognise qualifications obtained in part through non-award pathways and foundation courses was welcomed.
“This should make it easier for Indian students to have their qualifications recognised when they return home and it is a positive step for the Australian university sector,” she said.
“It’s a good result for the long-term advocacy by the sector, including by Universities Australia.”
The result of over seven years of lobbying, the decision for AIU to issue equivalence certificates for degrees partially obtained through a pathway provider is a substantial win for Indian graduates and Australian providers.
Indian graduates without formal recognition of their overseas qualifications are locked out of obtaining a government job or continuing onto further education when they return home.
According to estimates from the Association of Australian Education Representatives in India, up to half of all Indian students in Australia were negatively impacted by the rigid stance not to recognise these types of qualifications.
Meanwhile, AAERI president Ravi Singh said the new position would open up new markets within India for Australian providers.
A growing number of universities have begun offering pathway packaged degrees, where completion of a foundation program allows for entry into the second semester or beyond of the degree.
“The Australian Government Department of Education and Training has to be complimented for pursuing this issue for several years,” Singh told The PIE.
“What we have is accommodation from the Indian Government to this issue.”
“Some universities… indicate that some adjustments may have to be made”
While a welcome move, he added there were still some areas that need further clarification, with the MHRD’s memorandum noting that “AIU would issue the equivalence from now on as far as the Australian universities are ready to take responsibility of the quality of credits earned”.
Additionally, the change would require that credits earned at a different institution are included within the student’s academic transcript “without mentioned that the credits are earned through a pathway”.
Singh said now the “ball is in Australian universities’ court” to make the changes needed for Indian graduates.
“There will need to be some changes at the Australian end and possibly a need to take some further clarity,” he said.
“Some universities indicate that it may be possible while others indicate that some adjustments may have to be made. Let us see how this pans out.”
Instances where part of the degree is undertaken at a TAFE (technical and further education institution) may also need further clarification, he added.
Hor MHRD’s decision impacts additional study abroad as part of an Australian degree may also need to be better clarified, with a stipulation included that the recognition would only be for credits obtained within Australia.
India is currently the second largest source country for international students in Australia, representing 12% of total international students and over 18% of higher education enrolments.