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UGC reforms distance learning guidelines to intensify foreign students’ enrolment

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has amended the Open and Distance Learning Programmes and Online Programme guidelines, paving way for foreign students to enrol at Indian universities with ease. This amendment will allow international students with expired passports to enrol at Indian universities through the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Earlier, international students had to mandatorily produce their passport for identification to enrol themselves with any Indian university. As a result, many applications were rejected due to either non-submission of passports or submission of expired passport.

However, this amendment will only be applicable to those international students who enrol themselves on e-VidyaBharati Portal and are admitted through MEA. Such students will be exempted from the mandatory requirement of passport and can produce any ‘national Identity with photograph’ of their country for enrolment purposes.

The e-VidyaBharati project is an initiative of the Ministry of External Affairs, to offer tele-education services to African countries. These services are offered free of cost.

Moreover, the Ministry of External Affairs is offering scholarships to African students under the e-VidyaBharati (tele-education) project. The project aims to offer at least 15,000 scholarships to African students over a period of 5 years.

Talking about the amendment, UGC Chairman Prof. M Jagadesh Kumar said, “The Second Amendment Regulations, 2022 changes the compulsory identifier ‘Passport’ for International students to ‘any national Identity with photograph’ of the country of residence for the admissions through MEA in UGC recognized/entitled Online Programmes.”

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