India, UAE ink pact to set up IIT campus in Abu Dhabi
Modi and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed endorsed a decision that IIT Delhi-Abu Dhabi will become operational by January 2024 by offering a master’s programme in energy transition and sustainability
The second Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus abroad will be set up in Abu Dhabi following the signing of an agreement between authorities of India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the capital of the Emirates on Saturday.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) for setting up the campus of IIT-Delhi was signed between India’s education ministry, Abu Dhabi’s department of education and knowledge and IIT-D in the presence of PM Modi and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Last week, a similar MoU was signed between India’s education ministry and authorities in Tanzania for setting up a campus of IIT-Madras in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar. This campus will start offering two courses in October.
Modi and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed endorsed a decision that IIT Delhi-Abu Dhabi will become operational by January 2024 by offering a master’s programme in energy transition and sustainability. Other bachelor’s, master’s and PhD programmes are expected to be offered from September 2024, and research centres will be established in sustainable energy, climate studies, computing and data sciences, according to a joint statement issued by the two sides.
The campus is also expected to offer programmes covering artificial intelligence, computer science and engineering, healthcare and mathematics. The courses will be designed by IIT-Delhi and degrees will be conferred by the institute, the Union education ministry said.
Cooperation in education, including setting up campuses of Indian universities abroad and the mobility of students, has emerged as a key component of India’s foreign policy in recent years. The move is also in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which recommends that “high-performing Indian universities will be encouraged to set up campuses in other countries”.
Modi welcomed the development and said in a tweet, “This marks a significant stride in our educational internationalisation and is a testament to India’s innovation prowess. Education is the bond that unites us, it’s the spark that ignites innovation. Together, we will leverage this power for mutual prosperity and global betterment.”
According to the education ministry, the MoU complements the India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and reflects the shared vision of both sides to prioritise educational excellence, innovation, knowledge exchange and investments in human capital as the foundations for future prosperity and enablers of long-term economic growth and sustainable development.
Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the move will lead to a new chapter in the “internationalisation” of India’s education. “An example of New India’s innovation and expertise, the IIT Delhi campus in the UAE will be an edifice of India-UAE friendship. It will set a brand new template for leveraging the power of knowledge for both mutual prosperity and global good,” he said.
IIT-Delhi said in a statement that it has “already initiated outreach programmes for school students from the UAE as part of its offerings for the academic ecosystem of the country”, and that short courses and executive programmes for industry are expected to start soon.
IIT-Delhi director Rangan Banerjee said the campus in Abu Dhabi will be both a “challenge and opportunity” for the institute to ensure that India’s education and research make a “global impact”.
According to the education ministry, the campus will complement the academic, research and innovation ecosystem in Abu Dhabi by collaborating with key players such as Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, Khalifa University, New York University Abu Dhabi, Technology Innovation Institute, and Hub71 (Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem) to offer complimentary programmes, conduct cutting edge research and advance the local startup ecosystem.