Two Australian universities — Wollongong and Deakin — will soon establish campuses in Gujarat’s ‘GIFT City’, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan announced on Wednesday.
The two varsities will sign an agreement on setting up their campuses during Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s maiden visit to India next week.
Mr Pradhan made the announcement during an event at Delhi University’s Venkateshwara College that hosted Australian Education Minister Jason Clare, who is on a four-day visit to the country.
“Two Australian universities will be establishing campuses in the GIFT City in Gujarat. We want to partner with Australia with accessibility, affordability and quality of education for youngsters,” he said.
The two universities are Deakin University and Wollongong University. These are the first two foreign varsities to be setting up their campuses in GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tec) City.
The Australian minister also announced that noted former cricketer Adam Gilchrist, the global brand ambassador of Wollongong University, will help in setting up the university campus in India.
Talking about the ties between the two countries, Dharmendra Pradhan said both the countries share some common things.
“India and Australia share some common things. Both aspirations are similar though the sizes of both countries are different; the strategy roadmap and aspirations are similar. I observe closely the development of Australia from the last 50 years,” the minister said.
“One of the key strategies of Australia is education knowledge and skill development and vocational training. India, being a young nation, we want to collaborate with Australia,” the minister added. Deakin University is ranked 266 in QS World University Rankings and is also among the top 50 young varsities. It has four campuses in Australia and many students from India go to study there.
Wollongong University is the first foreign university to open a campus in the UAE.
When contacted, representatives of the two universities said more details would be available following a formal announcement next week.
GIFT City is an emerging global financial and IT services hub, a first-of-its-kind in India, designed to be at or above par with globally benchmarked business districts.
In her Budget speech last year, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government would allow the setting up of world-class foreign universities in Gandhinagar’s GIFT City, free from domestic regulations, to facilitate the availability of skilled manpower in the financial services space.
As per the regulations, registrations would be granted based on the recommendations of a committee of experts. At first instance, in-principle approval to the applicant will give it 180 days to set up the required infrastructure and engage necessary manpower, etc.
In October, the Centre notified regulations for foreign educational institutions to set up campuses in the GIFT City in Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad to offer courses identical to those in their home jurisdictions and award identical degrees, diplomas or certificates.
The regulations allow international branch campuses and offshore educational centres to be set up in GIFT City.
These regulations, however, are different from the Setting up and Operations of Foreign Higher Education Institutions in India, Regulations, 2023, prepared by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
The UGC last month announced that foreign universities will be able to set up their campuses in India for the first time and unveiled draft norms under which these varsities can also decide on the admission process, fee structure and repatriate its funds back home.
The initial approval will be for 10 years and renewed in the ninth year, subject to the meeting of certain conditions, UCG Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar had said and clarified that these institutions shall not offer any such programme that jeopardises the national interests of India.
The regulations are yet to be notified.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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