At least two Australian universities, ranked among the world’s top 300, have reached out to the Union government to set up independent offshore campuses in India, The Sunday Express has learned.
The two higher education institutions are in talks with the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) to establish independent “international branch campuses” in GIFT City near Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
Source said a formal announcement about one of the two Australian universities, ranked in the 250-300 band of QS World University Ranking and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, is likely to be made by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during his visit to Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar early next month.
The development comes four months after the IFSCA (the GIFT City regulator) framed the rulebook to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India through GIFT City.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had first announced in her Budget speech last year that world-class foreign universities and institutions would be allowed in GIFT City to offer courses in financial management, FinTech, science, technology, engineering and mathematics “free from domestic regulations”.
On Thursday, IFSCA formally started inviting applications from foreign universities. “We have notified the application form recently. The two interested universities are in talks with the expert committee of educationists that has been set up for the task,” a senior government official told The Sunday Express.
“Setting up a campus in India makes sense as they (two universities) already have the highest presence of students from India,” another government official said.