After US plan hits roadblock, Mumbai University to set up 1st international campus in Dubai
After plans of opening an offshore campus in United States hit a roadblock, Mumbai University is set to open its first international campus in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Dubai campus, expected to be operational from the academic year 2018-19, will offer undergraduate degree courses in Economics, Psychology and Sociology. The varsity has already started applying for permissions required to offer the courses.
According to Vice Chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh, who was in talks with investors and alumni since the past few months, the plan for opening the new campus was approved by the university’s academic council recently.
“We have been successful in finding a place in Dubai for a campus and also found a partner to fund the university for the same. We are looking forward to starting the courses soon,” said Deshmukh, without revealing who the partner was.
The partner will be responsible for funding the infrastructure in exchange for a share of the fee revenue. In addition, a budgetary provision of Rs 20 lakh was also made in 2016-17 for setting up the Dubai campus.
Initially, Deshmukh wanted to set up MU’s first offshore campus in the United States. He even visited the country to scout for possible locations. But, the plan took a backseat due to lack of funds.
“The plan to set up a university in US is currency on hold. We are now exploring the possibilities of starting an online university there, which will not require much space but only the infrastructure for running online courses,” Deshmukh was quoted saying.
Meanwhile, some experts have critisized the management’s decision to go global without addressing more pressing issues plaguing the varsity, like failing to make it to the top 150 universities in the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF).
Incidentally, the 160-year-old Mumbai University is not the first in India to set up a global presence. Savitribai Phule University of Pune had established an international campus at Ras al Khaimah in UAE in 2009. However, it got a lukewarm response to its courses.
The Maharashtra Public Universities Act of 2016 allows state-based universities to set up campuses in foreign countries, albeit with the permission of the Central and State governments.