New Delhi: Four Indian academic qualifications -- Senior School Certificate (SSC), Bachelor's and Master's degrees and PhDs - from government-approved institutions will now be recognized by the French government with effect from May 1.
Similarly, the French equivalents of these qualifications will be recognized by the Indian government.
This has been made possible by an agreement between France and India for the Mutual Recognition of Academic Qualifications signed during President Emmanuel Macron's maiden State visit to India last year.
The agreement, which will come into force from May 1, was inked on March 10 last year during the India-France Knowledge Summit, the first high-level summit for university, scientific and technological cooperation held by the two countries, a statement by the French Embassy here said on Monday.
It is the first such intergovernmental agreement that India has entered into.
As per the agreement, the educational qualifications from India (from government-approved institutions) which are now recognised by the French government are All India Senior School Certificate Examination (AISSCE) (CBSE, state boards, pre-university (PU) or any equivalent qualification recognised by the Government of India), Bachelor's degree, Master's degree and Ph.D, the statement said.
The educational qualifications, recognised by the French Ministry of Higher Education and which will now be recognised by the Indian government, are Baccalaureat (equivalent to AISSCE), License (equivalent to Bachelor's in India), Master's and Master's level qualifications (equivalent to Master's in India) and Doctorat (equivalent to Ph.D. in India).
Professional degrees such as law, medicine or those of other professions regulated by a professional council are excluded, the statement said.
"The mutual recognition of AISSCE and Baccalaureat degrees will enable students to advance their studies in both French and Indian educational systems. It promotes mobility of students between the two countries," the statement said.
Welcoming the development, French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler said: "I am delighted that the Agreement will benefit Indian students wishing to study in France and French students wishing to study in India, since both governments will recognise their degrees."
He said over the past few years, his country has taken several steps to facilitate student exchange between India and France.
"With this MoU, we have reached an important milestone, which is a great opportunity for students from both countries," the Ambassador said.
In addition to encouraging student mobility, this Agreement will also promote excellence in higher education through cooperation and exchanges between Indian and French universities, he added.
"People-to-people ties are essential for strengthening our links, and producing ambassadors of each other's countries," Ziegler said.
France ranks third globally, welcoming the highest number of foreign students.
In 2018, 8,000 Indian students chose France to pursue their higher education - mostly in the English medium - a significant increase over the previous years, the Embassy said.
"The Embassy of France in India is committed to fostering this positive trend with supporting initiatives. The target set by President Emmanuel Macron to welcome 10,000 Indian students annually by 2020, will be reached by the end of this year," it added.
The Embassy said it has developed a highly-attractive visa policy for Indian students, which includes the option of a 2-year employment visa in France after the completion of post-graduate studies.
Furthermore, all Indian alumni who hold a Master's or higher degree from state-recognised French institutes are eligible for 5-year short-stay visas.
Indian alumni with French degrees enjoy many career opportunities in India as well, as over 500 French companies, employing more than 3,50,000 people, operate in India.
The French Government currently invests 1 million euros (7 crore rupees) in over 500 scholarships for Indian students every year.
The French Embassy founded the Franco-Indian Education Trust in 2017 to further increase scholarships.