A 16-member committee has been formed by the central government consisting of the directors of seven Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campuses and vice-chancellors of four central universities to prepare a roadmap to allow overseas campuses of Indian universities, The Indian Express reported.
The development comes after IIT Delhi's proposal of opening centres in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The committee is headed by IIT Council Standing Committee Chairperson Dr K Radhakrishnan.
It has been asked to submit a "framework/structure for the opening of campuses abroad by Higher Education Institutes after examining the existing provisions for the opening of offshore campuses" by 17 March.
The directors of seven IITs – Mumbai, Delhi, Kharagpur, Madras, Kanpur, Guwahati, and Dhanbad – and the vice-chancellors of Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Banaras Hindu University, University of Hyderabad, and the Director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, are members of the committee.
'Committee To Come Up With the Administrative, Financial, Legal Framework'
The committee is required to come up with the administrative, financial, and legal framework of the proposed overseas campuses.
The proposals, including IIT Delhi's, will be presented before the committee.
"Four-year undergraduate courses, an annual intake of up to 240 students in four branches based on SAT scores, and campuses spread over 100 acres that are close to major cities with good air connectivity" are some of the highlights of IIT Delhi's proposed overseas campuses.
Among the terms of references of the Radhakrishnan committee is also: "the operational safeguard required for insulating the parent institute vis-a-vis its offshore campuses from liabilities as per (the) law of (the) foreign country."
According to a senior Education Ministry official, the committee had so far met only once.
The official said it was discussed during the meeting if the IITs should collectively open one campus abroad or if each IIT should compete individually abroad.
"And why just IITs? Many other central universities have the necessary expertise to launch offshore campuses. The committee will provide a roadmap. IIT Delhi is an institute of eminence and has an autonomous decision-making structure. But any proposal that involves funds will require the ministry's approval," the official added.
The directors appointed by the chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Delhi centre will head the proposed campuses.
Campuses Will Have To Be Financially Supported by Their Governments, Other Stakeholders
The said campuses in Saudi Arabia and Egypt will have to be financially supported by their governments, the industry or philanthropic donors, among other stakeholders, as per the structure outlined by IIT Delhi.
"An alternate model would be to set up the KSA campus [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] as a for-profit entity. This would have the advantage of attracting potential investors who could provide the capital needed to set up the campus. However, IIT Delhi has no experience in working with such a model, and while it might be willing to explore the possibility, this would not be its priority," it said in the draft proposal.
"The campus would admit 60 students in each discipline each year, and this would imply 240 students in each cohort and roughly 1,000 students and 60 faculty members on campus after four years," reads the IIT Delhi proposal. The proposal added that students would spend the final year of their course in the IIT Delhi campus.
Sixty percent of the total faculty members are proposed to be either based in Saudi Arabia or Egypt.
The teachers would be recruited by IIT Delhi and expected to spend one semester every three years at the India campus.
The proposal states that "ultra-modern laboratories, classrooms, dormitories, food courts, sports facilities, 150 apartments to house teaching and non-teaching staff on a 100-acre campus close to a major city having good air links to Delhi" would have to be created, as per The Indian Express.
"The adjoining city should have good educational and medical facilities to cater to the needs of teaching and scientific staff that would be housed on the campus," it pitches.
Last year, the Centre had issued guidelines allowing institutions of eminence, such as IIT Delhi, to open overseas campuses after acquiring the Ministry of Education's approval and no-objection certificates from the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs. This was in line with the National Education Policy.
(With inputs from The Indian Express.)
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