Offshore IITs should offer programmes in data science, Artificial Intelligence, robotics, mining: Education ministry report


The proposed offshore IIT campuses should offer undergraduate degree programs in data science, Artificial Intelligence, robotics, mining and energy, an Education ministry report noted, among other recommendations.

As per the report, which is being considered by the Centre, the prospective courses have been decided based on feedback from Indian embassies abroad, which reached out to the authorities of the host nations in order to gauge the demand of various disciplines in their respective countries.

“The survey shows that most of the universities in the nations targeted initially have undergraduate programs in conventional disciplines…From the feedback shared by the ambassadors of the identified host nations, the most frequently mentioned disciplines are related to computer science or Information Technology, data sciences, AI, machine learning or robotics, electrical, electronics, mining, metallurgy, petroleum and energy,” the report stated.

Additionally, since Bachelor of Science (BS) and Masters of Science (MS) are the commonly used names for degrees internationally, the academic programmes will be named accordingly, instead of Bachelor of Technology (BTech) and Masters of Technology (MTech), as is the convention in India, the committee noted.

It recommended varied modes of admission, including JEE, GATE, JAM , SAT and GRE. “A JEE or JEE (Advanced) exclusively for off-shore campuses can be conceived in the future if it’s economically and logistically viable”.

The committee also prescribed a minimum intake to start the programs: three to 40 per year for UG courses, and 15-20 in the case of PG courses. The faculty-student ratio should be 1:10 in line with global standards, it said. It added that the quality of the faculty must be preferred “more than the country of origin”.

Advocating a model different from the style of faculty recruitment in India, which involves life-long appointments, the report said, “The faculty should be recruited on long-term contracts with enough flexibility given to the institutions to negotiate salary and terms with the candidates,” the report says.

The committee also identified provisions for deputing faculty members from the existing IITs to the proposed institutes abroad, particularly in their formative years, along with a suggestion that joint recruitment of faculty could be explored.

Similar flexibility has been envisaged in the case of students as well in the proposal to spend four semesters each in India and abroad.

On the administrative front, a Board of Governors-led model, which is in place in the domestic IITs, is likely to be replicated even for the offshore campuses. “The BoG should include individuals from the host country as well as India. They should represent diverse fields such as academics, industry, and public service,” it added.