Zanzibar to get IIT Madras campus in October

A temporary campus equipped with accommodations for offices, classrooms, and auditoriums has been identified in the Bweleo district in Zanzibar from where IITM will start functioning initially.
Representational Image of IIT-Madras  (Photo | Express)
Representational Image of IIT-Madras (Photo | Express)

CHENNAI: IIT Madras has become the first IIT in the country to launch an international campus in Zanzibar-Tanzania. The academic classes for the international campus will commence in October this year.

Preeti Aghalayam, an alumnus of IIT Madras, will be the director in charge of the institute’s first international campus in  Zanzibar. This is for the first time that a woman is being appointed as the director of an IIT campus. 

She said, “IIT Madras is proud to bring its deep and long-term education and research strengths to East Africa. The campus is planned in similar terms as Madras, with verdant natural surroundings, state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, research facilities, and innovation centres.”

A temporary campus equipped with accommodations for offices, classrooms, and auditoriums has been identified in the Bweleo district in Zanzibar from where IITM Zanzibar will start functioning initially. While the permanent campus of IITM Zanzibar, sprawling over 200+ acres, will come up on Zanzibar Island and its master plan is being developed by IIT Madras experts.

V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “It is indeed a major milestone in the history of IIT Madras that we are establishing a Campus at Zanzibar. Through this, we look forward to active participation in the future higher education initiatives at Zanzibar.”

This year two full-time academic programs: a four-year Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence and a two-year Master of Technology in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence will be offered by IITM Zanzibar. The total student intake will be 70 and applications for the 2023 batch are currently open, said a statement issued by IIT Madras.  

Faculty will be deputed from IIT Madras or recruited from India during the initial days of this campus. However, IIT Madras has plans to hire local talent as faculty on the campus. “The Government of India is offering numerous scholarships for citizens of Tanzania/Zanzibar to study in various degree programs at IIT Madras in Chennai, starting from July 2023. The research scholars from Zanzibar pursuing education in IIT Madras will be hired as faculty in the campus,” said IIT Madras officials.

The Union Ministry of Education had received strong interest from the corresponding Ministry in the Government of Tanzania and after several delegation visits on both sides, the partnership was finalized. An MoU was recently signed between India and Tanzania towards the final procedural step that paves the way for this campus.

The IITM Zanzibar campus is planned to have a structure with degree programs hosted by schools. The first school is the School of Science and Engineering, which will host both the planned degrees for the 2023-’24 academic year. A detailed evolution plan for academic programs is under development, with inputs from expert members in India and Zanzibar/Tanzania, said Kamakoti.

The Office of Global Engagement, IIT Madras, will coordinate the student entrance process, which will include a screening test developed by faculty experts at IIT Madras and an interview, as per the IITM Senate-approved admission process for international students.

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