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IIT-Madras’ Zanzibar campus to start classes in October

New Delhi: The first academic session at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras’ Zanzibar campus is set to begin in October with the offshore campus offering two full-time academic programmes, top officials said on Monday.

IIT-Madras has become the first IIT in the country to launch an international campus, which is coming up in Tanzania’s Zanzibar. An MoU was recently signed between India and Tanzania, the final procedural step that paves the way for this campus.

“Classes for the first academic year (2023-24) are scheduled to commence in October 2023, offering two full-time academic programmes — a four-year Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence and a two-year Master of Technology in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence,” IIT-Madras Director V Kamakoti told reporters here.

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“The total student intake will be 70, including 50 students for Bachelors and 20 for Masters courses. Applications for the 2023-batch are currently open,” he said.

“Faculty will be deputed from IIT-Madras or recruited from India during the initial days of this campus. Activities to ensure local talent is developed and can be employed as faculty are underway already,” he said.

“The Zanzibar campus is planned to have a structure with degree programmes hosted by schools. The first school is the School of Science and Engineering, which will host both the planned degrees for the 2023-24 session,” Kamakoti added.

He said a detailed evolution plan for academic programmes is under development, with inputs from expert members in India and Zanzibar. The courses will be open to foreign students from all countries including India.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed last week for setting up of the campus of IIT-Madras in Zanzibar, which is a Tanzanian archipelago off the coast of East Africa.

Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, currently visiting Tanzania, described the move as a “historic step” that reflected India’s commitment to the Global South.

Elaborating on the admission process, Kamakoti said, “The office of global engagement, IIT-Madras, will coordinate the student entrance process, which will include a screening test developed by faculty experts at IIT-Madras and an interview, as per the IITM Senate-approved admission process for international students”.

The fees will be USD 12,000 per year for the bachelors course while for the masters course, it will be USD 4,000 per year.

“Presently the institute will operate out of a temporary campus in the Bweleo district of Zanzibar while the permanent campus, spread over 200 acres, will be located in Zanzibar Island, off the East African mainland and is being planned as a unique and game-changing educational partnership between India and Zanzibar-Tanzania.

“The faculty strength will be based on required teaching expertise and the quality assurances of IIT-Madras including but not limited to maintaining robust faculty-student ratios,” Kamakoti said.

Several IITs have been receiving requests from the Middle-East and South Asian countries to set up their campuses. While IIT-Madras is setting up its campus in Tanzania, IIT-Delhi is considering setting up a campus in UAE.

IIT campuses are also in the pipeline in Egypt, Thailand, Malaysia and the UK.

“This is the most significant step forward in the internationalisation efforts of IIT-Madras. A detailed strategic plan that includes increasing the number of international students, fostering meaningful and synergistic joint degree programmes with international academic institutions and enhancing faculty and student mobility has been laid out by us,” said Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dean (Global Engagement), IIT-Madras

“Opportunities for a full-fledged physical campus abroad were being strongly explored and it is heartening to see the realisation of these ambitions,” he added.

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