After scouting locations in the United States (US) to set up an offshore campus, the University of Mumbai (MU) vice chancellor (VC) Sanjay Deshmukh wants to start an MU campus in Dubai from the 2018-19 academic year. The varsity’s academic council recently cleared the project.
The Dubai project was announced on March 28, 2016, as part of MU’s annual budget for 2016-17 and Rs20 lakh was set aside for it.
According to Deshmukh, the university will collaborate with a Dubai-based partner, who has agreed to provide infrastructure and funds for the campus. In return, the varsity will share the revenue it generates through the fee structure.
If everything goes according to plan, MU will become the second Indian university to start a campus on foreign soil.
Pune University went international in 2009 by setting up a campus in Ras al-Khaimah (RAK), UAE.
Commenting on the project, Deshmukh said, “I want to do everything within my power to improve university’s stature.”
The VC wants to pursue the project despite MU failing to feature in the list of the top 150 Indian universities — ranked by the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF).
In the first phase, the campus will offer undergraduate programmes in economics, sociology and psychology. “We will appoint teachers for this campus and impose our standards,” said Deshmukh.
Earlier, the varsity had explored the option of setting up a campus in the US. During his visit to the country, Deshmukh surveyed various facilities and universities for this.
He even considered purchasing a building in Manhattan and Houston. Deshmukh also explored the possibility of establishing a facility within the University of Akron, Ohio.
However, Deshmukh now says it will be difficult to amass funding for the US project and is mulling online courses from Mumbai. “Online education doesn’t require much investment,” he said.
The Maharashtra Public Universities Act, introduced last year, allows public universities in the state to establish centres or institutions in foreign countries. However, the MU will require permission from the Centre and the state.