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India To debut With France On Degrees

New Delhi: India and France are to sign an agreement recognising each other's academic degrees, from high school upwards, as equivalent with the exception of medicine and law degrees.

India has so far eschewed any such pact with any country because of differences in the duration of academic programmes, but has now shed its reluctance.

School education lasts 13 years in France but 12 years in India. Most undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are of the same duration in both countries --- three and two years, respectively --- but BTech courses in France are of three years compared with four years in India.

Some French universities offer one-year master's courses, which will be treated as equivalent to India's two-year courses.

"Indian students will no longer face an admission hurdle to French undergraduate courses just because the schooling period is shorter in India," said an official with the University Grants Commission, the higher education regulator.

So far, the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) has had sole authority to issue equivalence certificates to Indian students who secured degrees abroad. The AIU's norms are: the foreign university should be recognised in its home country, the course should have been completed in the regular mode (as opposed to distance learning) and the duration of the programme should be the same as its Indian counterpart.

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