Deakin University announces Campus in GIFT city, will be the first foreign university to set foot on Indian soil

Autar Nehru

Deakin University, Australia, creates history for itself as well as India by spearheading a pioneering initiative to establish its first-ever international branch campus (IBC) outside Australia   in the smart business district of GIFT City (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City) in Gujarat. And Deakin’s IBC also becomes the first ever foreign university to set its foot on Indian soil.  The announcement was made in Ahmedabad by the visiting Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese at a special event on March 8 in presence of Governor of Gujarat, Acharya Devvrat, Chief Minister, Bhupendrabhai Patel, Deakin’s Chancellor John Stanhope AM, Chairman of GIFT City, Sudhir Mankad, and CEO of Universities Australia, Catriona Jackson.  Professor Iain Martin, Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University, leads this initiative.

In a statement Deakin University said, with this groundbreaking initiative, Deakin University will propel its ‘in India, with India, for India’ philosophy of engagement to exciting new territory, support the ongoing development of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and further strengthen the Australia-India education partnership. This is a remarkable achievement that was made possible by the support of International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA). This announcement heralds a new era in Australia-India education collaboration, one in which innovation and partnership will be the keys to unlocking an enriching and mutually beneficial relationship has left an indelible mark on the fabric of both nations.

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia speaking at the event, said, “It gives me enormous pleasure to acknowledge that Deakin University will be the first university to establish a branch campus in India ever. It is quite an achievement! This is an exciting beginning for stronger educational, commercial and cultural relationships.”

The international branch campus will be operated on the basis that the standards and requirements will be equivalent to those at the home campus in Australia. The courses offered will be identical to what is currently being offered by Deakin in Australia, and are both accredited by the Australian Computer Society, a globally recognised professional body in these fields. Students will receive the same standard of higher education in GIFT City as at Deakin in Australia. Academic standards will be based on Deakin’s standards frameworks and manuals and are aligned with the national accreditation body in Australia: Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).  The campus will open its doors as early as possible, no later than mid-2024.

Bhupendrabhai Patel, Chief Minister,  said, “It is a matter of honour for Gujarat that the prestigious Deakin University of Australia is going to operationalise its international branch campus in Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) City.”  And it is poised to play a crucial role in fulfilling GIFT City’s ambitious goal of producing a stream of job-ready graduates, primed to make their mark in the fast-paced world of technology and business.

Injeti Srinivas, Chairperson of IFSCA, whose support and guidance made this historic milestone possible, stated that “Apart from making available world class education within India (GIFT IFSC), it is also expected to be a huge value proposition in terms of reduced costs for students with greater international employment opportunities. This will also lead to greater internationalisation of GIFT IFSC by attracting students from all parts of the World”.

Tapan Ray, Managing Director and Group CEO, GIFT City said, “The establishment of the world’s first international branch campus in GIFT City by Deakin University will open new vistas for aspiring students as well as for world class educational institutions to operate from Indian soil. This will enable students to access best in class education right in their home country.”

According to Professor Martin, two post-graduate or masters programs—Cyber Security and Business Analytics of two-year duration have been identified for the starters and the first batch could be admitted in July 2024 trimester. The university is in talks with a few developers to establish a 25000 feet ‘look and feel like Daekin campus.  Daekin University will be investing Aus $ 4 million in setting up the operations for this IBC.

The fee structure is yet to be determined but according to university officials, it will be about half of what a student would pay going to Australia. While the mobility between this IBC and mother campuses and vice-versa will be permitted, but the university wants to make it clear, students admitted in IMC won’t have post-study work right in Australia though an Australian qualification would definitely give them an advantage of pursuing jobs as skilled migrants.

The IBC will be collaborating with several of the nearly 200 companies in GIFT for industrial project work and case studies besides internships. The IBC will have Deakin faculty and also virtual connectivity with parental Australian campuses.

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