Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Dharmendra Pradhan during their meeting in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Indian Ambassador to the UAE Sunjay Sudhir also accompanied them at the meeting. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: The prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)’s first overseas campus in the UAE, IIT Delhi-Abu Dhabi, will have its interim campus at Zayed University and will dedicate its inaugural course to support the sustainability goals for future generations as envisioned by COP28, the UN Climate Change Conference taking place later this month in Dubai.

On Wednesday, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Education and Human Resources Council (EHRC), received Dharmendra Pradhan, Indian Minister for Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in Abu Dhabi, WAM reported.

During the meeting they discussed the strong bilateral relationship and strategic partnership, focusing on numerous opportunities for cooperation, particularly in education.

“They also reviewed the progress on the IIT Delhi-Abu Dhabi project as the IIT Delhi campus in Abu Dhabi is gearing up to start the academic operation by January next year with the first programme being Master’s in Energy Transition and Sustainability,” the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi said in a media statement.

Energy Transition and Sustainability

The mission said the ministers acknowledged that a Master’s in Energy Transition and Sustainability would be the right choice to start the academic programme of the IIT Delhi-Abu Dhabi campus as the UAE is hosting COP28 later this year. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has extended his full support to the UAE in making COP28 a ‘COP of Action’.

To be held from November 30 to December 12 at the Expo City Dubai, COP 28 will bring together representatives from various countries to negotiate and agree on how to tackle climate change, limit emissions and halt global warming.

The intersection of energy transition (from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy) and sustainability is critical for achieving a more environmentally responsible and resilient energy system in the future to achieve the goal of keeping global warming below 1.5°C. An IIT MTech course in the subject will empower students to address pressing global challenges and contribute to a more sustainable and resilient future.

Landmark project

The Indian minister toured the interim campus of the IIT Delhi-Abu Dhabi in Zayed University where he reviewed the progress made on the project with Sara Musallam, chairperson of the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK).

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Dharmendra Pradhan and Sara Musallam tour the interim campus of IIT Delhi-Abu Dhabi housed at Zayed University. Image Credit: Supplied

Pradhan applauded the commitment and dedication of the ADEK and the IIT team in making the landmark project a reality.

“It [the project] is a testament of the common vision and priorities of the leadership of both our countries. Happy with the progress. The IIT Delhi-Abu Dhabi campus marks a significant stride in our efforts to internationalise India’s education. It will open up a plethora of opportunities for leveraging the power of knowledge for mutual prosperity and global well-being,” he posted on X, formerly Twitter.

CBSE office in Dubai

The minister also revealed India’s plan to set up an office of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Over 100 Indian schools in the UAE follow the CBSE curriculum according to him.

“Our discussion also centred around support required from the Indian side to further facilitate progress of the IIT Delhi-Abu Dhabi campus, ADEK’s support to CBSE-affiliated Indian schools functioning in the UAE and our plans to set up an office of CBSE in Dubai. UAE’s support to Indian schools has played a critical role in ensuring Indian children in the emirates remain connected to Indian curricula and roots,” he added on X.

UAE-India MoU on education

Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, UAE Minister of Education also met his Indian counterpart and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the UAE Ministry of Education said.

“We underscore the significance of this collaboration with the Republic of India, which will enhance the effectiveness, growth, and prosperity of our educational system in line with the aspirations of both countries,” Dr Al Falasi stated.

The MoU aims to enhance cooperation in exchanging information related to public and higher education, including regulations and legal structures. It also involves sharing best practices in evaluation, classification, technology trends, and policies for gifted skills development. Both parties will exchange curriculum frameworks and qualifications for mutual recognition and enhance Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) teaching staff.

Additionally, the MoU includes facilitating academic collaboration between higher education institutions in both countries, enabling twinning, joint degree and dual degree programmes.

The Embassy added: “Both ministers discussed in detail the ongoing collaboration in the education sector and explored newer areas of cooperation including exchange programmes between schools in two countries and the opening of campuses of elite Indian colleges and universities in the UAE.”

Number of Indian students

The Ministry of Education said there are 271,109 Indian students in UAE general education schools, including 248 in government schools and 270,861 in private schools, and 5,707 in higher education institutions, including 1,142 in public education institutions and 4,565 in private education institutions.

Education and skills cooperation was a prominent part of the Vision Document unveiled by the Indian Prime Minister and the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in February last year.

During his visit, the Indian minister thanked the UAE leadership for its generosity and policies of harmony and tolerance which have helped more than 3.5 million Indians make the UAE their second home.

Indian Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan with Indian Ambassador to the UAE Sunjay Sudhir and Consul General of India in Dubai Satish Kumar Sivan in Dubai on Thursday. Image Credit: Supplied

During a meeting with the principals of the CBSE schools in the UAE at the Indian Consulate in Dubai, Pradhan said an administrative office of CBSE will soon open in Dubai and will work in close cooperation with the Indian missions.

The minister told the school principals that he has also asked the new IIT to look into developing an Indian teachers’ education course to enhance the capabilities of CBSE teachers in the UAE.

The Dubai office will be the first overseas office of CBSE and will cater to the requirements of over 200 CBSE-affiliated schools in the GCC which enrol over half a million students. The event was joined by principals and management of CBSE schools in the UAE and joined virtually by principals and management of CBSE schools in other GCC countries.

Earlier on Thursday, Pradhan also visited Mohammad Al Gergawi, the UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs, to review the cooperation in the fields of education and research. Both ministers explored possibilities of bringing campuses of premier Indian institutes to Dubai so that the larger global community can benefit from the rich experience and expertise of those institutes and help in making Dubai a regional hub for education and learning, the embassy said.