IITs Madras, Delhi, KGP on fast track for overseas expansion

The plan to set up campuses of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Abu Dhabi, Tanzania and Malaysia has been launched with a year under schedule, key officials said.

IIT Madras Director Prof V Kamakoti said a team led by the institute’s Dean Global Engagement has taken up the coordination work to set up the institute’s proposed campus in Tanzania, which will offer mainly mining, metallurgy and data science courses.

An official of IIT Delhi, which will have a campus in Abu Dhabi, said teams from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were in New Delhi recently to study the model followed by IIT-D while maintaining conversations with teachers and students here. “A dedicated team located in Abu Dhabi is working on it,” the official said.

Two professors from IIT-D will also visit Abu Dhabi soon. Apart from IIT-D and IIT-M, IIT Kharagpur will launch a campus in Malaysia.

Kamakoti said the proposal was at a “nebulous stage”. Asked if the institute had set a timeline for the project, he said, “We’re looking at a year.”

The IIT overseas expansion project has been a comeback for Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Speaking at the launch of a two-day event at IIT Delhi on Friday where all 23 IITs have come together to showcase their research and development projects to mark India’s 75th year of independence, he say, “Our IITs must go beyond being just engineering colleges. We must stop benchmarking IITs on the basis of placement packages. IITs should redefine parameters and make a point benchmark on the number of innovations brought to market, monetized innovations and the number of job creators created.”

For the proposed offshore campuses, the model being explored is fully residential campuses with students and faculty from India as well as host countries. In this regard, the IITs follow the guidelines drawn up by the committee of the Ministry of Education, headed by the chairman of the standing committee of the IIT Council, Dr K Radhakrishnan. “But we go beyond the guidelines,” an official said.

Both undergraduate and postgraduate courses are likely to be offered, particularly in emerging areas.

“The host country will have certain expectations. They will see if we offer courses that are relevant to their nation. They will also measure our level of interest or engagement. Ultimately, we also need to ensure that it is recognized as a brand,” Kamakoti said.

The Radhakrishnan committee’s proposal that the new institutes be named “Indian International Institute of Technology in (name of country)” has also been adopted.

“The suggested name is close enough to IIT with an international addition to emphasize / clarify that the institute is outside India. The name difference (with enough similarity) will allow newly established institutes to develop their own identity and ethos, while building on the strength of existing IITs,” the report said.

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