New Delhi: Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are set to open their first overseas campus in Mauritius and a feasibility report has already been prepared.
This campus will be set up in collaboration with Mauritius University with support from the Indian as well as the Mauritius government. To be named International Institute of Technology (IIT), the institution will engage in research and development for the first five years.
IIT Kharagpur. Photo by Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
“We have already given the feasibility report to the human resource development ministry as well as the Mauritius government,” said M. Balakrishnan, who is spearheading the team in charge of the plan. “We are ready to start it this year but it depends on both the governments, as the proposal to set up the institute was taken by the Indian education minister and his mauritius counterpart,” he said.
Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal and Rajesh Jeetah, Mauritius’ minister of tertiary education, science, research and technology, had in June 2010 expressed a willingness to open an institute similar to an IIT in the island nation.
To start with, it will be a IIT-Delhi research academy with a global outlook, Balakrishnan said. “IIT Delhi will mentor the institute and we believe we will engage some 40 faculty members for the Mauritius centre,” he said, adding that these professors need to give at least one month of their time for the campus—three weeks in Mauritius and one week in India dedicated for the offshore plan. According to the plan, the initial investment will be more than $20 million (around Rs 100 crore).
Since Mauritius does not have a huge industry-linked economy, the course and research areas have to be global in outlook, Balakrishnan said. Both faculty and students will be global as well.
“Their industries are largely sugar and fisheries but we know that it’s an international gateway and can be a hot destination for IT, electronics and e-commerce streams,” he said.
A human resource development ministry official, who did not want to be named, said the ministry is discussing the report and is “quite optimistic”.
IIT-Delhi director R.K. Shevgaonkar said the IITs want to make their presence felt overseas. “We now have the expertise and know how to help a country set up an IIT-like institute. It will have a huge impact on our brand image.”
The aim is to start with research and not undergraduate courses. “If you start teaching undergraduate courses from the beginning then it will become a college, not an IIT-type institute, which is research-oriented,” he said.