Union Govt Forms Panel to Plan for Overseas Campuses of Indian Institutions

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The Union government has constituted a 16-member panel to plan for campuses of Indian universities to be set up overseas, Indian Express has reported.

The committee was formed in response to what the government has claimed is demand “from various quarters.”

In November last year, it had been reported that the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi – IIT Delhi – sought approval to open two overseas campuses, in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, respectively.

The committee is headed by IIT Council Standing Committee Chairman Dr. K. Radhakrishnan. It also has directors of the IITs in Mumbai, Delhi, Kharagpur, Madras, Kanpur, Guwahati, and Dhanbad. Also in the panel are 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, Express has reported.

The committee has been given till March 17 to submit a roadmap for the opening of campuses abroad by higher education institutes “after examining existing provisions for the opening of offshore campuses.

Proposals of institutions, including IIT Delhi’s, will be considered by the committee. The institution has floated a plan to offer non-subsidized bachelor’s degrees in the two overseas campuses, with a chance for students to spend a year at the Delhi campus.

This is the second time that IIT Delhi has tried to expand overseas.

It had earlier attempted to set up 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 Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani.

Why such an agreement was signed where commitments were made to set up a campus at (an) international level in violation of (the) Institute of Technology Act by spending India’s taxpayers’ money? Why did the minister of that time did not react,Irani told parliament in 2015, referring to the earlier United Progressive Alliance government.

However, the National Education Policy released recently contained guidelines on institutions of eminence to open overseas campuses after approval from three Union ministries – education, external affairs, and home affairs.

A term of reference for the Radhakrishnan committee, Express reports, is to devise “operational safeguard(s) required for insulating the parent institute vis-a-vis its offshore campuses from liabilities as per the law of the foreign country.”

The committee has met once and discussed on the number of campuses on the anvil.

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