University students (representational image) | Bloomberg
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New Delhi: No management institute can offer both Master’s (MBA) and postgraduate diploma (PGDM) courses, according to a new government rule aimed at protecting students from misleading claims.

“Conducting PGDM and MBA courses in the same institution is not permissible… central/state/private universities and institutions deemed to be universities which are running PGDM programme concurrently with MBA under the banner of management programme are requested to convert PGDM courses as MBA completely and comply with the AICTE norms forthwith,” the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) said in a circular released last week. 

“An institute cannot run both PGDM & MBA programmes simultaneously,” the circular added.

The move, according to AICTE officials, is aimed at eliminating the confusion caused by institutes running Master’s as well as diploma programmes.

AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabuddhe told ThePrint that institutes offering a good MBA would at times also introduce a diploma course in management. The latter, he said, was often inferior in quality, but students would sign up under the impression that an institute offering a good MBA course would excel at PGDM as well.

“A lot of confusion was caused by institutes running both programmes simultaneously… What we are doing now… is course correction,” Sahasrabuddhe added.

Also Read: Liberal arts universities on par with IITs, IIMs are next on Modi govt’s education plan

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‘Why grant diplomas when you can hand out degrees?’

Until the IIM Act was passed on 31 December 2017, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) only offered a diploma in management because they couldn’t confer degrees. However, with the Act, individual institutes now have the option to either offer a Master’s degree or a diploma — but not both. 

Since the IIMs didn’t have the power to confer degrees until recently, the AICTE also allowed standalone institutes — those not affiliated to any university — to award diplomas. But over the years, institutes attached to universities — and thus empowered to grant degrees — also started diploma courses.

Experts argue that, as far as job prospects are concerned, it doesn’t matter whether one has a degree in management or a diploma. 

“In terms of professional value or opportunities after studies, both PGDM and MBA have the same value. IIMs were so far giving a PGDM, and their placements have been excellent, so there is no difference there, said an AICTE official.

However, the same official claimed the decision had a bearing on the fees one paid. Unlike MBA, the officer added, there are no regulations to set fees for diploma courses.

Sahasrabuddhe said institutes “that have degree-granting power should offer an MBA”. “Why do they need to offer a PGDM when they can offer a full-time degree programme?” he added. 

Also Read: For 2 years from 2014, Indian graduates became more employable. Then their growth stagnated


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