International students applying to online programmes recognised or authorised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) through the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will not be required to present a passport as identification. According to UGC Chairman M. Jagadesh Kumar, “The Second Amendment Regulations, 2022 has changed the mandatory identification document for international students to any national identity with a photograph of the country of residence for admissions through MEA in UGC recognized/entitled online programmes.”
According to Kumar, this is a significant revision to the norms governing open and remote learning programmes and online programmes that will encourage more and more foreign students to enrol in the online programmes offered by Indian institutions that have been approved by the UGC. African students may apply for scholarships from MEA through the e-VidyaBharati (tele-education) scheme. Over a five-year period, it intends to provide at least 15,000 scholarships to African students. The e-VidyaBharati portal offers the UGC-recognized and authorised online programmes, and applicants are accepted via the MEA. The MEA has noted that many applications are denied because a passport is either not submitted at all or is submitted but is expired. Therefore, in order to get admission in Indian institutions under the e-VidyaBharati (tele-education) programme, the MEA petitioned the UGC to accept any national identity with a photograph and be free from the necessity of a passport.
Kumar continued, “This revision is anticipated to increase the number of overseas students enrolled in online programmes through MEA.” The UGC did, however, make it clear that passports will continue to serve as identifiers for any overseas students enrolling in UGC-recognized and -authorized online programmes without using MEA.