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The government has issued guidelines for the so-called Institutions of Eminence (IoEs) to foray overseas through offshore centres and full-fledged campuses in a push to put India on the global education map.

Each of these 20 higher education institutes has been allowed to open up to three offshore centres in the next five years.

They will, however, require approval from as many as three ministries—education, home and external affairs—before they can venture out.

Also, while an institute can start offshore operations with 500 students and five post-graduate programmes, as well as research activity, it needs to ensure that these operations eventually grow to become a full-fledged multi-disciplinary teaching and research campus with at least 3,000 students, and 300 faculty members within 10 years.

“Institutions of Eminence... shall be permitted to set up new off-campus centres—maximum of three in five years and not more than one in one academic year—by following the procedures," according to the revised rules of the education ministry, a copy of which has been reviewed by Mint.

They will also need to submit a detailed project report, a 10-year vision plan and five-year rolling implementation plan.

The rolling action plan should have details related to the academic plan, financial status, student admission, infrastructure, research and development, a governance plan with clear annual milestones and an action plan on how the centre is to be set up with identifiable outcomes.

“Institutions of Eminence... shall be allowed to start new off campuses with the prior approval of the education ministry after receiving no objection certificate from the ministry of external affairs and ministry of home affairs," the guidelines state.

“IoEs shall ensure that the norms and standards of offshore campus shall be the same as that maintained in the main campus for similar courses, and shall follow similar admission criteria, curriculum, exam and evaluation system," the guidelines add.

In 2018 and 2019, the government declared 20 institutions, drawn equally from the public and the private sector, as IoEs. They include existing central and state-run top performers such as the IITs in Delhi, Bombay and Madras; IISc in Bengaluru; Anna University, Chennai, private universities such as Shiv Nadar University and Jindal Global University, and greenfield university projects by corporate houses or their foundations.

The world-class university initiative is aimed at putting a pool of Indian varsities on the global high table, expand research work and take India’s higher education globally.

These institutions have been offered wide autonomy in both academic and financial matters.

The government-run IoEs are slated to get 1,000 crore each over a period of five years from the Union government.

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