First overseas IIT campus to be set up in Zanzibar
India will establish its first Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus outside the country in Tanzania. The move is in line with India's National Education Policy 2020 and aims to strengthen educational cooperation between the two countries. The IIT campus in Zanzibar will begin offering programs from October and will be responsible for planning pedagogical strategies. The initiative is seen as a step towards internationalizing Indian education and expanding India's reputation and diplomatic relationships.
The first Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus outside the country will be set up in Tanzania following the signing of an agreement between the educational authorities of the two countries during external affairs minister S Jaishankar’s visit to the African nation.
Cooperation in education, including the setting up of campuses of Indian universities abroad and the mobility of students, has emerged as a key component of India’s foreign policy in recent years. The move is also in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which recommends that “high performing Indian universities will be encouraged to set up campuses in other countries”.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) for setting up the campus of IIT-Madras in Zanzibar was signed between India’s education ministry and the ministry of education and vocational training of Zanzibar-Tanzania on Wednesday in the presence of Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi and Jaishankar.
Zanzibar is an archipelago off the coast of east Africa that united with Tanganyika in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania.It is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania.
The IIT campus will start offering programmes from October, the Union education ministry said on Thursday. “The admission criteria will be decided by IIT-Madras and degrees will be conferred by the institute. IIT-Madras will be responsible for planning pedagogical strategies for the offshore campus,” a senior official of the education ministry said.
Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the move marks a beginning towards internationalisation of Indian education. “The initiative is an embodiment of PM @narendramodi’s commitment to strengthen South-South cooperation as well as forge stronger people-to-people ties with Africa. NEP is paving the way for making knowledge a key component of bilateral relations as well as for advancing global good,” he tweeted.
In 2021, the government formed a 16-member committee, headed by the chairman of the standing committee of IIT Council, K Radhakrishnan, to prepare a framework for setting up campuses abroad. The committee, in its report, strongly recommended that IITs should take the lead in this direction.
The external affairs ministry said the offshore campus is “reflective of the longstanding friendship between India and Tanzania and a reminder of the focus India places on building people-to-people ties across Africa and the Global South”.
India’s high commissioner to Tanzania, Binaya Pradhan, Raghunathan Rengaswamy, dean (global engagement) at IIT-Madras and Khalid Masoud Wazir, acting principal secretary of Zanzibar’s education ministry, signed the MoU.
The agreement formalises the educational partnership between the two sides and provides the framework for the parties to detail the setting up of the campus.
“This unique partnership will bring the top-ranked educational expertise of IIT-M to a prime destination in Africa and serve the imperative current needs of the region,” the external affairs ministry said.
The academic programmes, curricula, student selection aspects and pedagogical details will be set by IIT-Madras, while the capital and operating expenditure will be met by the government of Zanzibar-Tanzania.
IIT-Madras degrees will be awarded to students enrolled in the campus. The interdisciplinary degrees are “expected to attract a diverse cohort and will include students from Africa and other countries”, the external affairs ministry said. Indian students are also eligible to apply to these programmes.
The setting up of the IIT campus will enhance India’s reputation and its diplomatic relationships and expand the international footprint of IIT-Madras. “It is also likely to enhance the quality of IIT-Madras education and research further, due to student and faculty diversity from the international campus. It will further serve to deepen research collaborations with other top-ranked academic institutions world-wide,” the external affairs ministry said.
The IIT campus in Zanzibar is envisioned as a world-class education and research institution with a broader mission to develop competencies in response to emerging global requirements, deepen ties between the countries, and support research and innovation in the region.
Jaishankar is on an official visit to the United Republic of Tanzania during July 5-8. While in Zanzibar during July 5-6, he will visit a water supply project funded by an Indian line of credit, meet top leaders and attend a reception on board the Indian warship INS Trishul, which is visiting Tanzania.
He will then visit Dar-es-Salaam city in Tanzania during July 7-8 and co-chair the India-Tanzania Joint Commission meeting with his counterpart. He will meet the country’s top leadership, including several cabinet ministers.
He will also meet members of the Parliamentary Friendship Group for India and inaugurate an business meeting. He will address the Indian diaspora and inaugurate the bust of Swami Vivekananda in Dar-es-Salaam.