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Exclusive: IIT Delhi seeks Centre's nod to open campuses in Egypt, Saudi

If approved, it will start a new chapter for the IIT system, and help IIT Delhi to become a global education player instead of just a domestic elite school.

November 15, 2021 / 02:23 PM IST
IIT - Delhi campus (Source: IIT-Delhi)

IIT - Delhi campus (Source: IIT-Delhi)

The Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi (IIT Delhi) has sought approval from the government to open two overseas campuses – one in Egypt and another in Saudi Arabia.

The IIT Delhi authorities have had discussions with both the countries. Once it gets the green light from the Indian government, IIT Delhi will start work on setting up the two campuses. The funding will be done by the respective governments of the host countries either directly or through a dedicated system, according to officials in the know.

IIT Delhi Director V.Ramgopal Rao confirmed the development. “We are a Government of Indian institute, and we have sought approval from the union education ministry for the foreign campuses,” he said but refused to share more details.

If approved, it will be beginning of a new chapter for the IIT system. It will also allow IIT Delhi to become a global education player, instead of being just a domestic elite school. The development will also take IIT Delhi closer to Africa and Europe, and help attract foreign students to its campuses in India, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Lack of internationalisation has been negatively impacting the global rankings for IITs.

The foreign campuses will offer bachelor’s degree in engineering and science. But it won’t be called BTech as a BTech from any IIT needs adherence to the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) system. Instead, admission to these campuses can happen through some other global engineering and science entrance exams without compromising the quality standard for which IITs are known for, said a second official, also requesting anonymity.


“IIT Delhi is looking to start with around 250 students at each of the campuses at the bachelor’s level. Gradually, the numbers will increase and post-graduate and doctorate level courses will be added,” said the second official. The proposal is with the education ministry for the past few months.

Unlike at the Delhi campus, students in overseas campuses will not get subsidised education, and their fees will be marked to market. Out of the four years of bachelor’s degree in these two campuses, the students will be allowed to spend one year at the Delhi campus.

While the fees received in the foreign campuses will not be ploughed back to the main campus in Delhi, the students’ fees paid for the education at the Delhi campus will stay with them. It means, only one of the four years’ fees can come to the Delhi campus, as per the proposal.

IIT Delhi had been exploring ways to expand its footprint overseas since the past couple of years after its attempt to open a campus in Mauritius was shelved at least six years back due to lack of government cooperation.

The institute had progressed well to establish a research academy in Mauritius in 2013 and started work on it in 2014 but it was sent to the backburner after the HRD ministry (now education ministry) questioned the legality of such a move. The IIT subsequently brought back its faculties, including Professor SM Ishtiaque, who was leading the Mauritius project.

The year 2021 gives a much brighter prospect because of two key reasons – one, the new education policy supports quality Indian institutions opening foreign campuses, and two, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a function at IIT Guwahati last year had asked IITs to think about expansion “beyond boundary.

Prashant K Nanda
first published: Nov 15, 2021 02:23 pm

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