ZANZIBAR / CHENNAI : His Excellency Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi, President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council, inaugurated the IIT Madras Zanzibar at an event held today (6th November 2023) at the Zanzibar campus in the presence of Tanzanian officials, Indian dignitaries, faculty and students.
This historic initiative is being undertaken as part of the Government of India’s endeavour to take top quality education system of India to international arenas. IIT Madras Zanzibar is the first ever international campus of an IIT.
The existing campus in Bweleo district, located approximately 15 km south of Zanzibar Town, is equipped with international amenities designed to meet the current needs of students. A permanent campus will be built soon jointly by the Government of Zanzibar and the Government of India.
While initially, the Institute will offer BS and MTech programs, in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, more academic programs will be offered in the coming year. In the first batch at IITM Zanzibar, students from Zanzibar, mainland Tanzania, Nepal and India have been admitted with 40 per cent of the students being women.
The campus will have the ability to accommodate students in dorms and provide various facilities. Arrangements for offices, classrooms and auditoriums have been meticulously made. Dining facilities and a dispensary are available on campus, and sports facilities are being planned.
The campus was inaugurated in the presence of Hon. Prof. Adolf F. Mkenda, Minister of Education Science and Technology United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Binaya Srikanta Pradhan, India High Commissioner of The United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Lela Mohamed Mussa, Minister of Education and Vocational Training-Zanzibar, Prof. M S Ananth and Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, former Directors of IIT Madras, Prof. Preeti Aghalayam, Dean of School of Engineering and Science, and Director-in-charge, Zanzibar campus, IIT Madras, faculty, students, staff and others.
Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, witnessed the inauguration through a live stream at the IIT Madras Chennai Campus.
The programs at IITM Zanzibar are open to students of all nationalities, including Indians. Apart from a comprehensive curriculum that includes all aspects of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, students will have access to several interesting opportunities during their course of study. These include study abroad/semester exchange programs with IIT Madras’ partner institutions in the U.K. and Australia, among other countries, internships with various relevant companies and a chance to meet some of the course requirements at the IIT Madras campus in Chennai, India. Classes for the first Academic Year (2023-24) commenced in October 2023.
Speaking to the Media at the IIT Madras Chennai Campus, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “Today, as we inaugurate the IIT Madras Zanzibar Campus, we embark on a journey of knowledge and innovation that transcends borders. Together, we will nurture excellence, foster collaboration and inspire generations to dream beyond horizons.”
The campus has started in its first semester with students from different countries including Zanzibar, India, Nepal and Tanzania Mainland. A total of 45 students have been admitted for a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Data Science and AI and a two-year Master of Technology degree in Data Science and AI.
Highlighting the unique aspects of the campus while addressing the event at Zanzibar Campus, Prof. Preeti Aghalayam, Dean of School of Engineering and Science and Director-in-charge, Zanzibar campus, IIT Madras, said, “It has been an honour to bring IITM’s academic excellence to this beautiful island of Zanzibar. We have started on such a wonderful and positive note with a lovely campus and amazing students. We are grateful to President Mwinyi for the faith reposed in us, and look forward to scaling great heights at IITM Zanzibar.”
Further, Prof. Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dean (Global Engagement), IIT Madras, said, “The start of this campus in Zanzibar is a landmark moment for IIT Madras. We are extremely grateful for the incredible support extended by the Government and people of Zanzibar. We will strive to make this one of the pre-eminent institutions in the African region.”
Sharing their experience as the first batch of students in this Institution, Ms. Ahlam Said Salim, Zanzibar, a Bachelor of Science student, said, “I see myself among the luckiest people being in this institute, this institute has a great techniques to provide knowledge and they build our confidence each day that we spent here, I feel very comfortable being here since we live like families together.”
Activities to ensure local talent is developed and can be employed as faculty are underway already. The Government of India is offering numerous scholarships for citizens of Tanzania/Zanzibar to study in various degree programs at IIT Madras.
The NEP 2020 encourages opportunities for the expansion of Indian higher education outside the country. The Ministry of Education, Government of India, received strong interest and excitement from the corresponding Ministry in the Government of Tanzania. After several delegation visits on both sides, the partnership was found to be ideal and the first international campus of an IIT is now ready to launch in Zanzibar-Tanzania.
The Office of Global Engagement, IIT Madras, coordinated the student entrance process, which included a screening test developed by faculty experts at IIT Madras and an interview, as per the IITM Senate-approved admission process for international programs.
The Zanzibar campus will leverage the wide expertise of IIT Madras faculty in interdisciplinary education, research and technological innovation, and is on an accelerated plan of development and growth. With strong support from the local government, IITM Zanzibar is planned as a one-of-a-kind international campus.