Third offshore campus of IIT likely to be set up in Sri Lanka

New Delhi: The third offshore campus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is likely to be set up in Sri Lanka, according to sources. The proposal for an IIT in Sri Lanka was announced last November in the 2024 Budget unveiled by Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who also serves as the finance minister.

According to sources, the Sri Lankan government is in touch with IIT Madras for the ambitious project.

“A high-level delegation had recently visited the Chennai campus to discuss the future roadmap. The talks are on and the campus is likely to come up in Kandy,” a source said.
“The delegation also visited the Research Park at the campus and interacted with officials about possible areas of engagement,” the source added.

The Indian government had announced that opportunities for admission to the IITs in India will be provided to meritorious Sri Lankan students from the 2017-18 academic sessions onwards.

If the plan for the Sri Lanka campus comes through, it will be IIT Madras’ second international campus. The institute had last year announced the setting up of an offshore campus in Tanzania’s Zanzibar with Preeti Aghalyam being appointed the director-in-charge who also became the first woman IIT Director. An MoU, signed last July between India and Tanzania, was the final procedural step that paved the way for the opening of the campus.

The institute began functioning in November last year from a temporary campus and is offering two full-time academic programmes – 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.

IIT Delhi followed the league and signed a formal agreement with the UAE government to set up a campus in Abu Dhabi.

The initial Master’s course at the IIT Delhi-Abu Dhabi campus will focus on energy transition and sustainability, reflecting a shared vision between India and the UAE to leverage knowledge for mutual prosperity and global well-being.

The UK is also keen on welcoming an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to set up an offshore campus in the country and some UK universities are already in talks with IITs to explore the possibility.

Several IITs have been receiving requests from the Middle East and South Asian countries to set up their campuses.

The central government had created a 17-member committee to facilitate the process of opening IIT campuses in foreign locations where students from different nations can study technical education.

The committee headed by IIT Council standing committee chairperson Dr K Radhakrishnan had submitted its recommendations in 2022.

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