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Offshore IIT campuses might be called ‘Indian International Institute of Technology’

The offshore campuses of IITs can be named as “India International Institute of Technology” according to sources and faculty members of the prestigious technology institutes here can be sent abroad.

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While the IITs abroad are free to decide the strength of the students, the percentage of Indian students in those institutes will have to be less than 20 percent, they said.

“A committee set up by the Center for the Global Expansion of IITs has submitted its recommendations. It has been suggested that the ownership of starting an IIT abroad should rest with the relevant higher education institution (HOI). The new institutes could be called “Indian International Institute of Technology at xxxx (location),” a source told PTI.

“There should be a provision to delegate faculties from an existing IIT to an institute abroad. This is especially important in the early years of the new institute, as it can significantly benefit from the faculty’s experience here,” the source added.

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

This is the second time IIT Delhi is trying to expand abroad. It had previously attempted to establish an “International Institute of Technology Research Academy” in Mauritius and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mauritius Research Council. But in 2014, objections were raised by the then Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani and the project was shelved.

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Earlier this year, the Center had established a 17-member committee headed by the IIT Council Standing Committee Chairman, Dr K Radhakrishnan.

The panel recommended creating a generic system such as IIT, NIT or IISER, under which a series of institutes could be established, as the current IIT law does not provide for setting up an IIT outside the country.

Explaining the rationale behind the proposed name, sources said the name is close enough to IIT with “international” added to clarify that the institute is based outside of India.

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

“The panel recommended that there can be more than one model to establish the institute depending on the specific location, such as campuses by individual IITs, group IITs and HEIs, individual or group IITs in conjunction with a reputable host university.

“In the UK, for example, preference will be given to collaborating with a reputable host university. However, this collaboration must be undertaken with care so that the expectations and responsibilities of the participating IITs are aligned with those of the host university,” the source said.

The IITs abroad can follow the semester system and the start and end dates of semesters can be aligned with the academic calendar.

“The number of students in a particular program must be such that the program is economically feasible. However, the exact number can be left to the institute. While these institutes should target the local student population, which could be the Indian diaspora, but the panel recommended that the percentage of Indian students in these institutions should be less than 20 percent,” the source said.

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