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IIT Campus In Tanzania's Zanzibar To Offer Data Science And AI Courses, Classes To Start From October

Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) is opening India’s first overseas IIT campus in Tanzania’s Zanzibar. The first session is set to start in October with 70 students.

Photograph of IITM Zanzibar campus in Tanzania released by IIT-Madras.
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The first Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) overseas campus is set to become operational in October in Tanzania’s Zanzibar with the initial intake of 70 students in two programs. 

The campus, known as IITM Zanzibar, is a collaboration between IIT-M and Tanzania. Initially, the faculty will be deputed from IIT-M to Tanzania and subsequently local faculty members would also be recruited, said IIT-M in a press release on Monday. 

Initially, the IITM Zanzibar would function from a temporary campus. A 200-acre dedicated campus from the institution is under construction. 

Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous island province of Tanzania off the African mainland in the Indian Ocean. It has an area of around 2,462 sq km, population of around 1.8 million, and the main languages are Swahili, Arabic, and English.

Earlier on July 6, a memorandum was signed between the Government of India, IIT-M, and the Government of Tanzania for the setting up of an IIT campus there. A press release by the Ministry of Education said that “internationalisation of education” is part of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

“National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 focuses on internationalisation and recommends that ‘high performing Indian universities will be encouraged to set up campuses in other countries’,” said the press release. 

Addressing a press conference on Monday, IIT-M Director Prof. V. Kamakoti said, “It is indeed a major milestone in this 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.” 

Prof. Preeti Aghalayam, Dean of School of Science & Engineering & Director-in-charge, Zanzibar campus, IIT Madras, 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.”

IITM Zanzibar admission, courses

The applications to IITM are currently open. The selection process is a two-step process. 

The Office of Global Engagement of IIT-M is coordinating the admission process, which includes a screening rest followed by an interview, according to the press release issued on Monday.

“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,” said the release.

Initially, two data science and artificial intelligence programs would start with an intake of 70 students.

  • 4-year BS (Data Science and AI)
  • 2-year Master of Technology in (Data Science and AI)

“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 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 the press release by IIT-M.

IITM Zanzibar Campus

Initially, IITM Zanzibar would function out of a temporary campus. Later, it would shift to a dedicated 200-acre campus

“At this time, a temporary campus with comfortable accommodations for offices, classrooms, auditoriums and student dorms has been identified. It is located in the Bweleo district in Zanzibar. Dining facilities, a dispensary and playgrounds are planned,” said the press release by IITM.

The release further said that the 200-acre campus is being built as per a master plan developed by experts at IITM. 

Elaborating on this new campus, Prof. Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dean (Global Engagement), IIT Madras, said, “This is the most significant step forward in the internationalization efforts of IIT Madras. A detailed strategic plan that includes increasing the number of international students, fostering meaningful and synergistic joint degree programs with international academic institutions and enhancing faculty/student mobility has been laid out by us. Opportunities for a full-fledged physical campus abroad were being strongly explored and it is heartening to see the realization of these ambitions” 

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