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“New India breaking barriers” as Deakin becomes first foreign university to open campus in the country

“Australia setting up India’s first ever foreign university campus is a landmark moment in Australia-India relations."

In a historic first Deakin University has become the first foreign university to officially open a campus in India. This is also the first time that Deakin has opened an overseas campus.

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(Image: Deakin Gift City / X)

In an exclusive interview, Chancellor of Deakin University, John Stanhope AM, Vice Chancellor, Prof Iain Martin and CEO of South Asia Ravneet Pawha spoke with Pallavi Jain about this milestone. Prof Martin also mentioned that studying in Deakin in India will cost around half the amount that it costs in Australia.

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Chancellor Stanhope said that the relationship between India and Australia is getting closer and closer. He also mentioned that when you step into the Deakin campus in GIFT City it seems identical to the one in Melbourne.

Vice Chancellor Martin added that they could not have envisaged even a decade ago that India would be the first overseas campus for the University crediting this milestone to transformative changes in India. Ms Pawha said during the interaction that “New India is breaking barriers”

Deakin University, ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide, has officially unveiled its India campus, opening India’s first-ever international branch campus. The initiative indicates the friendship, collaboration and commitment between the Indian and Australian Governments and Deakin University supporting the tangible realisation of knowledge exchange and educational excellence envisioned by the National Education Policy 2020.

Leading up to the official campus inauguration, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, met with the Deakin delegation, and spoke about enhancing collaboration between government and academic institutions pertaining to cyber security, Deakin’s three-decade presence and engagement in India, and the upcoming campus inauguration alongside the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.

John Stanhope AM, Chancellor, Professor Iain Martin, Vice-Chancellor, and Ravneet Pawha, Vice-President (Global Alliances) and CEO (South Asia), represented Deakin at this landmark meeting.

“Australia setting up India’s first ever foreign university campus is a landmark moment in Australia-India relations. This opens a new chapter in our education ties, and this is only the beginning,” said, Australian High Commissioner to India, Philip Green OAM during his address at the inauguration event at the India campus in GIFT City, Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

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Deakin’s GIFT City Campus, India gives local students access to Deakin’s postgraduate courses in business analytics and cyber security at half the cost of Australian international fees.

“Opening the world’s first international branch campus in India reflects our commitment to offering global education that empowers students to excel in the digital age. This is an investment in the future leaders who will uphold and strengthen the bond between our nations,” Professor Martin said.

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Notably, Professor Iain Martin, also represented Australia, in a CEO round table with Prime Minister Modi, before the inauguration.

“Steadfast in our promise to give back to the community and change lives, two fully funded scholarships will be awarded to economically challenged students, underlining Deakin’s commitment to foster educational equity and nurture local talent.”

“Commemorating Deakin University’s 50th anniversary and 30 years in India, opening our campus in India magnifies these milestones,” Professor Martin added.

The campus features brand-new digital classrooms, libraries and cyber security labs, aimed at delivering an exceptional educational experience, while its digital integration with Deakin’s Australian campuses ensures students will have comprehensive access to essential learning resources.

As India’s workforce requirements expand and evolve within emerging technology sectors, Deakin University is set to expand its academic portfolio at the India campus, equipping students for global market leadership and positioning Deakin as an educational contributor to India’s growing digital workforce.

The campus will also serve as a startup incubator, nurturing entrepreneurial talent and innovation with specialised short courses and extensive support to elevate the regional startup landscape.

At the formal ceremony, Ms Ravneet Pawha, Deakin Vice-President (Global Alliances) and CEO (South Asia) expressed that it is an exciting time for cross-cultural education between Australia and India, and untapped global learning experiences.

“Our bold vision is for GIFT City is to be a regional hub in the future, attracting students from across the globe to India, and offering Australian students a unique opportunity to spend a trimester at Gujarat,” she said.

Following the launch, Deakin University kick-started its industry engagements with the inaugural Deakin University x IABCA Leadership Roundtable. The event brought together prominent figures from both Indian and Australian governments and industries for a participative dialogue on ‘Building Sustainable Futures across the Australia-India Corridor’, setting the stage for a series of strategic dialogues and partnerships for shared progress.

Speaking about this historic junction in Indo-Australian education relations, Ms Pawha said, “I commend the tireless efforts and support from both nations’ governments in realising this audacious project. This sets the stage for more innovative, expansive work in bilateral knowledge cooperation, envisioning a future where education knows no borders. I strongly encourage Indian students and professionals to embrace this opportunity and emerge as global pioneers in a tech-forward economy.”

The official Deakin University GIFT City Campus launch event, which occurred alongside the Vibrant Gujarat summit, was graced by distinguished guests from government, academia and industry including Deakin alumni Princess Jahnavi Kumari Mewar.

The opportunity to study at Deakin’s GIFT City Campus has seen a surge of interest, with potential students drawn to internationally accredited programs and unique internship opportunities within GIFT City’s industry network.

Priced at around 21 lakh rupees for the two-year course (fast-tracked to 18 months), the program will be delivered by local and international staff, along with guest lecturers from leading industry figures.

Deakin GIFT City Campus applications close on 31 March 2024, with classes scheduled to commence in July 2024.

Established in 1974, Deakin’s South Asia operations commenced in 1994 at New Delhi, India, making it one of the first overseas education providers to set up operations in this region.

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