Deakin to invest A$ 4 million in India over 2-3 years

The Australian university, among top 300 in the world, will start classes at its GIFT City campus in July 2024, making it the first foreign university to start a full-fledged campus in India

Deakin to invest A$ 4 million in India over 2-3 years
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (fifth from right), with Gujarat CM Bhupendra Rajnikant Patel (third from left) and other dignitaries announcing the opening of the Deakin International Branch Campus, in Ahmedabad on Wednesday evening

On Wednesday evening, at an event in Ahmedabad in the presence of visiting Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Deakin University announced opening of its first international campus outside Australia, on which Deakin would invest A$ 4 million (about Rs 22 crore) in the first phase. Called the Deakin International Branch Campus, it will be set up in the smart business district of GIFT City in Gujarat. Short for Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, GIFT City is coming up between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.

Set up in 1974, Deakin has campuses in Melbourne Burwood, Geelong Waurn Ponds, Geelong Waterfront and Marrnambool, all in Australia. It was ranked 266 in the QS World University Rankings 2023.“We are committing to an initial investment of around A$ 4 million over 2-3 years. It will be used for building the physical capacity to deliver the first two programmes,” Prof Iain Martin, vice-chancellor of Deakin University, told FE.

“If that is successful, we will invest more towards expansion. What is more important than investment is that we will be delivering Deakin-quality education in India.”Deakin will focus on postgraduate programmes on this campus, and the first two are a professional qualification in cybersecurity and a professional qualification in business analytics.

“These are the areas where employers badly need skilled workforce,” Prof Martin said. “About 200 companies are already there in the GIFT City and most of them need people with skills needed to thrive in the digital economy.”The batch size will be 50-odd students per programme, to start with, and classes will begin in July 2024.The learning set Deakin gains from these two programmes will be used for starting future courses.

Ease of doing business

Ravneet Pawha, vice-president (Global Alliances) and CEO (South Asia), Deakin University, told FE that while the plan was in place for quite some time, it was only in December 2022 that Deakin actually started the process of opening up a physical campus in India. “The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) — headquartered in GIFT City — played a key role in making this vision a reality by coming out with comprehensive International Branch Campus Regulations swiftly,” Pawha said.

“We got approval in record time with the application being submitted on February 28, 2023, and the in-principal approval on March 2, 2023.”Prof Martin added that although this has been a rapid project, it’s built on top of 30 years of deep understanding of India. “Deakin started in 1974, and our India office opened in 1994, so India is part of almost 30 years of our almost 50 years of existence,” he said.

In Australia, Deakin hosts over 15,000 international students from 130 countries, including more than 5,300 students from India. But the India campus won’t impact students planning to go to Australia. “Students who want to go to Australia to study have a different mindset as compared to those who would like to study in India,” said Pawha, who had played a key role in setting up the Deakin South Asia Office in India in 1994.

While the GIFT City campus will host only Indian students to begin with — and later on maybe students from some South Asian nations — there will be opportunities for those students to attend semesters in Deakin’s Australia campuses.

Academic standards will be based on Deakin’s frameworks and manuals and aligned with the national accreditation body in Australia: Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). Courses offered will be identical to what are being offered by Deakin in Australia, and are accredited by the Australian Computer Society, a globally recognised professional body.

Get live Share Market updates and latest India News and business news on Financial Express. Download Financial Express App for latest business news.

First published on: 09-03-2023 at 11:32 IST
Exit mobile version