Offshore IITs: What is the process of expansion of Indian institutions abroad? How will they work?

Following the recommendations of the National Education Policy, the Ministry of Education formed a committee to establish offshore campuses that would be mentored by Indian higher education institutions.

The committee suggested that IITs could start institutions abroad under their brand name based on inputs from 26 Indian embassies worldwide. This was done to encourage “high-performing Indian universities to set up campuses in other countries, keeping in mind the demand from various sectors for opening campuses abroad.”

What did the committee say about offshore campuses? How were the host countries chosen? Looking to the future, how will these institutions work? We explain:

The role of the committee

The committee was tasked with proposing a draft framework after analyzing the existing provisions available for opening offshore institutions.

His proposal was to detail the parent institute’s role in the operation of that campus and to limit the parent institute’s responsibilities under the law of the foreign country. The committee is also responsible for the accreditation of courses at offshore campuses.

the committee

Headed by IIT council permanent chairman K Radhakrishnan, the 17-member committee includes Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, JNU vice-chancellor Govindan Rangarajan, director of the Indian Institute of Science, as well as directors of various IITs India

Locations for offshore campuses

According to the report, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are the top three destinations to show interest in the framework.

The selection of host locations was made using a set of parameters such as the level of interest expressed by the host country; the commitment of the host country to provide financial support and the necessary infrastructure; academic history and background of these countries and their existing connection with Indian institutes of higher education, if any, among others.

Institutional models

The committee has proposed 4 ‘institutional models’: an offshore campus of a specific IIT, (Model A); a new campus created by a group of IITs and Institutes of Higher Education jointly (Model B); a collaboration between one or more IITs with a renowned host university abroad; a completely different chain of institutions that cater specifically to these overseas campuses (Model D). Those in the latter category may be mentored by one or more IITs or other institutions of higher education in India.

Offshore campus programs

The committee recommended programs in specialized areas such as computer and information technology, data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, electronics, mining or oil and energy .

Noting that there was interest in degree (BTech) and research (PhD) programs, with MTech programs becoming attractive to those wanting an “IIT stamp”, the report said the degrees may be extended to other engineering, science and humanities disciplines. depending on the requirement.

Admission criteria

Indian entrance exams like JEE, GATE and JAM are well recognized internationally and can be a common channel for all nations, the report states. For certain programs, the SAT and GRE might be appropriate, he adds.

For PhD and post-doctoral courses, the admission process will depend on the host countries, although the committee recommends a combination of written tests and interviews rather than the process followed in India.

Course strength and structure

The minimum intake for the initial phase is recommended to be around 30-40 students per year for each B.Tech programme, 15-20 students for postgraduate programs and “few students” for PhD programme.

B.Tech students can spend 6 semesters (or 75 percent) of the total course duration at the offshore campus and the remaining time at mentor institutes in India.

According to the report, it would eventually be expanded to full-time at the offshore campus, along with short-term projects at the parent institute (semester internships and exchanges).

However, since the facilities at the offshore campuses might initially be inadequate, the committee recommends dividing the time equally between the two.

Are these campuses affordable?

They will be done through significant investment from the host country government, the Government of India, with decent tuition fees, donations and proper financial management.

“India should expect a reasonable amount of gifts (around 10% to 15% of total spend),” the report said.

Teacher selection process

Faculty will be recruited through advertisement process like IITs. Faculty members from parent institutions may be seconded to offshore institutes and some faculty members may even have the option of permanent affiliation with the offshore campus.

Online teaching can also be adopted, in case of teacher shortage.

Other recommendations

English is the recommended medium of instruction, with the suggestion that AI and machine learning technologies be used for instant translation into local regional languages ​​in the future.

The Governing Council should include members from the host country and India. Institutions will enjoy autonomy while ensuring that transparency in financial and procurement policies is maintained.

Offshore campuses will not have any reservations for students or employees unless the local laws of the country have policies for this.

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