Study Abroad

Twinning programmes — a cost effective option

Twinning programmes — a cost effective option

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Monica Kapadia Mehta

India’s study-abroad market has swelled up significantly since the 90s due to a prospering economy that propelled students’ aspirations of acquiring an international degree.

However, since the cost of foreign education is on the higher side, students are sometimes unsure if pursuing a full-time programme overseas will result in a high return on investment and a rewarding career. Notably, an alternative option is gradually gaining traction in the country - twinning programmes.

Here’s a detailed rundown on twinning programmes to help students understand their significance and benefits.

Causing a stir

A twinning programme is an educational arrangement between local universities or pathway providers with partner institutions abroad. The arrangement allows students to pursue their education in their homeland for a certain time period.

Then, the students move to a foreign institution during the later stages of the course. After the completion of the course, students will be awarded a degree from a partnered university abroad.

Twinning programmes allow Indian institutions and pathway providers to offer undergraduate or postgraduate degrees with regular curricula of the partnering universities. Students will be able to transfer their credits to the partnering foreign educational institution after completing a specific period at home.

These programmes have created a great opportunity for Indian students to get access to high-quality academic resources at a significantly lower cost. 

Indian students enrolling in twinning programmes can enjoy a host of advantages that will ultimately help them to realise their study-abroad dreams smoothly.

Here are some of the key advantages:

The overall tuition cost of studying abroad will be reduced significantly and will be in tune with Indian standards. Since students will get to complete a part of their courses in their home country, it will also help them to save on the cost of living abroad for the entire duration of the course.

Students will get access to undergraduate and postgraduate courses at foreign institutions from their home educational bodies or pathway providers. Reputed universities in the UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are gradually entering into twinning partnerships with their Indian counterparts and pathway providers. Pathway providers can enable students to study from home through online classes taught by faculty of the foreign partner institutions.

One can get the opportunity to transfer credits to foreign universities at a later stage. This will allow students to pursue a further specialised degree from top foreign institutions.

Additionally, Indian students will be able to avail of work visas after graduation in the foreign country just like all students that complete their entire education in a foreign country do. This implies that students will still benefit from not only the campus experience, but also global work experience.

Programme schedule and costs

The schedule or duration of a twinning programme usually varies. Some courses are ‘2+2’, which means you have to study 2 years in the home country and then 2 years abroad.

However, there might be other programmes that offer a ‘3+1’ module wherein you will spend 3 years in the home institution before studying for 1 year abroad.

The expenses depend on numerous factors and, therefore, tend to vary. However, under such programmes, one has to spend around Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 6 lakh while studying from home and close to Rs. 12 lakh to Rs. 24 lakh while studying abroad.

Subjects available under transfer programme

A study conducted by AIU (Association of Indian Universities) shows that the number of foreign education providers in India climbed to 631 in 2010 from only 144 in 2000.

Out of them, 49 offer twinning programs, with hotel management and MBA being the top courses.

Apart from these two, twinning programmes are also suitable for pursuing an international degree in information technology, computer science, biotechnology, management, finance and accounts.

Helping students amid the pandemic

These courses can be useful for students who are unable to pursue higher education abroad due to the pandemic. Issues such as travel restrictions, campus closures, and vaccination have slowed down the enrolment of Indian students at foreign universities.

Twinning programmes are designed to help students seeking international education under these challenging circumstances. They can continue with their studies for an international degree at a partnered home institution or through a pathway provider via online classes, before travelling overseas later on when the situation becomes more travel-friendly.

 The writer is Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at LEAP

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