Going beyond the borders: IIT Madras scripts a new history by opening its first international campus in Africa!

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M), which boasts to be the top institute in the country, has now scripted a new history by opening its first international campus. As the big venture of going beyond the borders, IIT Madras has become the first IIT in India to establish its campus overseas. The institute's first international campus has been set up in Zanzibar in the African continent.

Zanzibar is an island that is part of Tanzania in southern Africa and the first-of-its-kind venture has come with an aim of enrolling more students from the African countries including Tanzania. In another remarkable milestone, the IIT Madras has announced that the Zanzibar campus of the institute will be headed by a woman - Professor Preeti Aghalayam, who has been serving as the Dean of School of Sciences & Engineering in IIT Madras campus. 

She has now been shifted her base to Zanzibar as the institute is all set to open its doors for the African students in their homeland. Professor Preeti has said that the Zanzibar campus will be equipped like its Madras campus as the natural surroundings, state-of-the-art classrooms, research facilities, laboratories, and innovation centres will be installed. 

Speaking about this historical venture, Professor V Kamakoti, director of IIT Madras, has said that while IIT-M is bringing in its knowledge investment, the government of Tanzania is bringing in the financial investment by providing a 200-acre land, salaries for staff among other expenses. He further said that a lot of African students come to India to study here and seeing a positive interest, they took the step of establishing a campus abroad - which will also be closer home to other European students. 

By citing that the student exchange programmes will enable students of both the Indian and Zanzibar campuses to travel to other country, Kamakoti said, "We will also soon set up a research park there (in Zanzibar) like the one we have in IIT Madras." It has been reported that the Zanzibar campus will offer two full-time academic programmes - a four year BS (data science and AI) and a two-year master of technology in data science and AI. 

The classes for its first academic year will begin from October 2023 with a total of 70 students in both the courses combined. According to reports, the IIT-Madras's Zanzibar campus is the outcome of the recommendations of the committee constituted last year by the government for the assessment and accreditation of higher educational institutions. 

In the committee, several possibilities of opening IITs campuses abroad were discussed and as the starting point, it has been decided to establish IIT Madras campus in Zanzibar as Zanzibar was selected as the first option in the wake of the support from the Tanzanian government and the demand for IIT's educational system in the African country. While IIT Madras has become the first IIT in India to set up its international campus, it won't be the last as IIT Delhi is charting out to open its campus in Abu Dhabi soon while IIT Kharagpur is vying to open its doors in Malaysia.