Offshore IIT campuses could be called “Indian International Institute of Technology”; empowered to be deputy

The offshore campuses of the IITs may be named ‘Indian International Institute of Technology’ and faculty members of the prestigious institutes of technology here may be sent on deputation abroad, sources said.

While IITs abroad may be free to decide the student strength, the percentage of Indian students in these institutes will have to be less than 20 per cent, they said.

“A committee set up by the Center for Global Expansion of IITs has come up with its recommendations. It has suggested that the ownership of starting an IIT abroad should rest with the Higher Education Institute (HEI) in particular. The new institutes could be named “Indian International Institute of Technology at xxxx (location),” a source told PTI.

“There should be a provision to depute the faculty of an existing IIT to an institute abroad. This is especially important in the formative years of the new institute as substantial gain can be gained from the experience of the faculty here,” the source added.

Several IITs have been receiving requests from Middle Eastern and South Asian countries to set up their campuses. While IIT Delhi is considering setting up a campus in the UAE, IIT Madras is exploring options in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Tanzania.

This is the second time that IIT Delhi is trying to expand abroad. He had earlier tried to establish an “International Institute of Technological Research Academy” in Mauritius and signed a memorandum of understanding with the Mauritius Research Council. But in 2014, then Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani raised objections and the project was shelved.

The Center had earlier this year set up a 17-member committee headed by IIT Council standing committee chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan.

The group has recommended the creation of a generic system like IIT, NIT or IISER, under which a number of institutes can be established, as the current IIT Act does not provide for the creation of an IIT outside the country.

Explaining the rationale behind the suggested name, sources said the name is close enough to IIT with ‘international’ added to make it clear that the institute is outside India.

“The name difference with sufficient similarity will allow the newly established IITs to develop their own identity and ethos, while expanding the strength of the existing IITs. The offshore campus should be a separate legal entity run by an Indian institute with its own identity and ethos,” the source said.

“The panel has recommended that there could be more than one model of institute establishment depending on the specific location, such as campuses for individual IITs, a group of IITs and IESs, individual or group of IITs in collaboration with a renowned host university.

“For example, in the UK, collaboration with a reputable host university will be preferred. However, this collaboration must be introduced carefully so that the expectations and responsibilities of the participating IITs are aligned with from the host university,” the source said.

IITs abroad may follow the semester system and the start and end dates of the semesters may be adjusted according to the academic calendar.

“The number of students in a given program must be such that the course is financially viable. The exact number, however, can be left to the institute to decide. Although these institutes should cater to the student population local which could be the Indian diaspora, but the panel has recommended that the percentage of Indian students in these institutions should be less than 20 per cent,” the source said.

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