Deakin University will be the first university to establish an international branch campus in India: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

NEW DELHI, March 9, 2023 Deakin University, Australia, creates history by spearheading a pioneering initiative to establish the world’s first-ever international branch campus (IBC) in the smart business district of GIFT City (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City) in Gujarat. This bold move is a testament to the university’s unwavering commitment to providing world-class higher education to students worldwide, while simultaneously elevating Australia’s reputation as a global leader in academia. 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).

At a prestigious event in Ahmedabad organised by Deakin University, The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia, lent his distinguished presence to the announcement of this ground-breaking initiative led by Professor Iain Martin, Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University. The Prime Minister and the Vice-Chancellor were joined by His Excellency Acharya Devvrat, Governor of Gujarat; Shri Bhupendrabhai Patel, Chief Minister of Gujarat; Deakin’s Chancellor John Stanhope AM; Mr Sudhir Mankad, Chairman of GIFT City; and Ms Catriona Jackson, CEO of Universities Australia. The success of the event was made possible through the invaluable support of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), a premier organisation that has been at the forefront of promoting Australia’s trade, investment, tourism, and education to the world. Deakin’s world-class course offerings on campus will initially include the Master of Cyber Security and Master of Business Analytics, before expanding to degrees from the faculties of Science, Engineering and Built Environment, and Business and Law.

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia, 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.”

Shri Bhupendrabhai Patel, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat, who was present during the event, said, “Under the visionary guidance of our Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Gujarat has become a role model of inclusive growth and sustainable development for the entire country. 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.

Deakin University International Branch Campus will contribute towards the fulfilment of one of the goals of GIFT City, namely, providing manpower equipped with skill sets for jobs in the business segment.”

This visionary campus aims to equip postgraduate students with the skills and knowledge in technology and business which are needed to excel in the rapidly advancing digital economy, not just in India but across the world. Set to embody the very latest in cutting-edge technology, the proposed campus promises to be a game-changer, revolutionising the way in which universities and industries collaborate to shape the future of work. 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. The campus will open its doors as early as possible, no later than mid-2024.

Speaking on the occasion, Professor Iain Martin, Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University, expressed his excitement and said, “As India’s population is predominantly young, with over 50% below the age of 25, investing in world-class education is crucial not only for the country’s economic growth and development but also for equipping young individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to flourish in an ever-evolving global landscape.

Deakin’s international branch campus is an incredible opportunity to deepen our engagement with India, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, and provide access to a world-class education for Indian students, delivered in India by Deakin alongside industry partners Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, HSBC, HCL and Xebia.”

The Union Education Minister and Union Finance Minister of India had the foresight to visualise this concept and included it in the Union Budget announcement made in February 2022. IFSCA played a pivotal role in making this vision a reality by coming out with comprehensive International Branch Campus Regulations swiftly, which made it possible for Deakin to get approval in record time with the application being submitted on February 28, 2023, and getting the in-principal approval on March 2, 2023.

Shri Injeti Srinivas, Chairperson of IFSCA, whose support and guidance made this historic milestone possible, stated, “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.

The availability of such facilities of international standards within GIFT City will ensure a steady supply of highly skilled professional talent pool for both domestic and global entities located here. By onshoring a much-required service from offshores, this development will add further value to the rapidly growing ecosystem at GIFT City.”

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 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).

Ravneet Pawha, the Vice President (Global Alliances) and CEO (South Asia) of Deakin University, played a key role in establishing Deakin in India back in 1994. She expressed her excitement regarding the recent development and stated, “This is a momentous occasion for both countries, and we are thrilled to have contributed to two ‘firsts’ in the Australia-India education sector story.

In India our sustained engagement has been based on the three major aims of preparing young India, research and innovation with positive community outcomes, and skilling and building capacity in India. The branch campus aims to provide a world-class post-graduate education to meet the industry’s skilled workforce demands within the country.”

For three decades, Deakin University has formed academic, strategic, corporate, and research partnerships with top institutions and organisations in India, providing unparalleled opportunities for students, researchers, and academics to engage with their peers and collaborate on innovative research projects. Deakin has supported Indian students through scholarships and bursaries, helping over 20,000 individuals realise their study abroad dreams. The University has also shaped the future of more than 10,000 alumni who are making a significant impact in their respective fields worldwide.

Deakin’s commitment to engagement has not only strengthened the Australia-India relationship but has also opened doors for global collaborations and partnerships, and its pioneering efforts have set a benchmark for other institutions to follow. 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.

About Deakin University

Established in 1974, Deakin University successfully combines excellence in teaching, research and effective partnerships with industry and government to deliver high quality courses and undertake research that makes a difference to the domestic and international communities it serves.

Deakin’s South Asia operations commenced in 1994 at New Delhi, India, making it one of the first overseas education providers to set operations in this region. Here, Deakin engages with the government, industry, and the academia to share its vibrant culture of education and research.

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