IIT Madras Zanzibar to be the first ever female-led IIT


By Ishita Roy

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras today announced that the first international campus — IIT Madras Zanzibar — will become the first-ever IIT to have a female director. Director-in-Charge of IIT Madras Zanzibar, Preeti Aghalayam, said, “I am an alumnus of IIT Madras and doing something of this magnitude for the institute and for the country is such a big honour. Every time we visited over here as the IIT Madras contingent, we noticed that the representation of women on their side is quite significant. So, it was important that we do this mindfully.”

Speaking to the media in Delhi, IIT Madras Director V Kamakoti said, “We will see many more encouraging things. We are following sustainable development goals and one of the important goals suggests that we need to bring in gender balance.”

Kamakoti announced that Prof Ligy Philip will be the in-charge of the infrastructure of the IIT Madras Zanzibar campus. She will be supervising the infrastructure of both the temporary as well as the permanent IIT Madras Zanzibar campus.

“We will be starting the campus on October 24, 2023, which is also the United Nations Day,” said V Kamakoti.

IIT Madras Zanzibar follows the motto of “IIT Madras open for all,” said V Kamakoti. Students, including Indians, will have to follow the IIT Madras Senate-approved admission process, followed by the screening test and an interview. The campus will offer a four-year bachelor of science degree in Data Science and AI (Artificial Intelligence) for $12,000 per annum and a two-year master of technology degree in the same for $4,000 per annum. Applications close by August 6. Prof Aghalayam said, “We will be offering a tuition break, the details are being worked out.”

IIT Madras Zanzibar also plans to offer joint-degree programs as a part of their student exchange programme, mentioned V Kamakoti. “We are also enrolling students from Tanzania for PhD in IIT Madras so they can teach in Zanzibar and maintain a good flow of teachers.” Universities in Europe are also being reached out for exchange programmes.

IIT Madras Zanzibar campus plans to offer non-conventional courses in the next five years, including courses on Cyber-Physical Systems and courses based on “what the country needs.” “I am an organic farmer,” said V Kamakoti, commenting on planning to offer courses on regenerative agriculture implementing AI for agriculture.

V Kamakoti also mentioned that other IITs are also looking forward to launching international campuses, IIT Delhi being one of them that plans to establish a campus in Abu Dhabi. “We have pulled it through in six months. IIT Madras will be the knowledge partner, while the Zanzibar government will provide monetarily. It is a win-win situation,” said V Kamakoti.


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