Pearl Academy has denied receiving any notice by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to close its centres. According to Pearl, the news is misleading and erroneous. The institute has however, confirmed of receiving a notice to stop awarding undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University (NTU) since it is not a “university” within the definition of UGC Act 1956.
Pearl Academy, which has centres in Noida, Mumbai and Jaipur apart from Delhi has over two decades of existence in design, fashion and creative business education with over 4100 students receiving education across its four centres.
Since the past few days, aspirants and students of Pearl Academy have been engaging in lengthy discussions on social media. While some panic-stricken students were full of doubts and questions, others waited for an official word from the institute on the issue. An email has been circulating on social media which apparently reveals the UGC news report to be misleading, further informing students about the certification by Nottingham Trent University (NTU).
According to the its website, Pearl does not award degrees of its own. While the Bachelors and Masters Degrees are awarded by NTU, UK, the postgraduate diploma courses are conferred Domus Academy, Milan, Italy. And the degrees are recognized as foreign degrees. NTU has the overall responsibility for the course management and quality assurance. And the academy is only a Validated Centre of Nottingham Trent University (NTU), UK for delivery of their Undergraduate and Masters programmes.
The Academy claims that their programmes do not come under the purview of University Grants Commission (UGC) or Association of Indian Universities (AIU) as UGC governs and regulates universities in India. According to the UGC Act, the right of conferring or granting degrees shall be exercised only by a University and Pearl does not awards its own degrees and is only a Validated Centre of NTU. But according to UGC a foreign university can only collaborate with an Indian university with its prior approval.
The design school has also said, that the Batch of 2016 will be the last cohort of students to graduate with NTU degrees upon completion of their program. But this will not impact new enrollees of 2016 and existing students as they will be under the existing validation agreement which extends until 2020. There will be a gradual phasing out of the NTU validated courses which will be replaced by a new partnership.
While UGC says that these degrees are not recognized by Indian or foreign university, the academy defies UGC by stating that their courses are widely accepted around the globe for higher studies. Institutions like NIFT, NID accepted Pearl students for Masters / Post Graduate programmes time and again. They have secured admissions with business colleges such as SP Jain and IMT Ghaziabad. Pearl graduates have pursued higher education at reputed international colleges and universities.
Pearl has ensured great placements to its students with a 95% placement record by leading companies such as Fabindia, Burberry, H&M, Kazo etc. picking up students.
Kanika Seth, an alumna of Pearl Academy says “I have had a great personal experience at Pearl. The faculty is amazing and so is their industry connect. I think they focus a lot even on their alumni both in terms of support and opportunities. I don’t think this news will affect Pearl’s reputation in anyway whatsoever. This is a professional degree and when you are out in the industry, people see your skills and learning and not anything else. I believe Pearl has given me the skill and has helped me to be industry ready in every possible way.”
Recently, Pearl had also collaborated with Fashion Design Council of India to nurture and shape the future of designers where FDCI designers were meant to mentor Pearl students.
Only further clarifications by the Pearl Academy or UGC will make clear whether Pearl is safe at its harbour or not.