ZANZIBAR: PRESIDENT Hussein Mwinyi has stated that the newly launched Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM)- Zanzibar campus will be an economic driver for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Isles’ Vision 2050.
“I am extremely happy that the dream I had, is now a reality. It’s one of the successes of my presidency. Having such a university is a big advantage in achieving SDGs particularly goal No 4,” Dr Mwinyi said when addressing the gathering at the inauguration ceremony held at the University’s temporary campus in Bweleo Village, Unguja West B District.
SDG No. 4 focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.
The Isles President also said that the IITM University in Zanzibar will push the country’s Vision 2050, which requires skilled labour in technology to transform the economy.
Dr Mwinyi said in his speech that the new university has been established at the right time when Zanzibar and the Union government are reviewing schools’ curricula aimed at promoting skills building.
“When we talk about reforms in all sectors to achieve our development goals, it is about having enough experts in various fields. I urge students from Zanzibar, Mainland Tanzania and Africa to make use of the IITM-Zanzibar campus,” Dr Mwinyi said, noting that the permanent location for the university will be on 250 hectares of land at Fumba, promising the construction by the end of 2025.
He also expressed his happiness about the speed used in establishing the university in Zanzibar.
“We signed an MoU in July, this year and it started operating in October/November, this year. I ask the people here to cooperate with the staff and students, and also urge Immigration to ease clearance for students and lecturers coming to the university.”
Dr Mwinyi joined with Indian High Commissioner to Tanzania, Mr Binaya Pradhan to commend President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan for her visit to India where several agreements were signed, among them was the establishment of the IIT Madras Zanzibar campus, the first-ever overseas campus in Tanzania in efforts to strengthen education partnerships.
The Zanzibar Minister for Education and Vocational Training Ms Lela Mohamed Mussa thanked the organising team of the event and the committee to establish the University which has started with 46 students from India, Nepal, Mainland Tanzania and the host country, Zanzibar.
She said the IITM- Zanzibar has modern facilities for the students to study and connect with lecturers in India, through online and e-library resources.
“This is an opportunity for students to study hard for their success,” Ms Mussa emphasised.
Prof Preeti Aghalayam, an alumna of IIT Madras, who has been appointed as the director-in-charge of the Zanzibar campus of IIT Madras said they received 400 applications and shortlisted only 70 to meet the available space and equipment. However, due to undisclosed challenges, only 46 turned up to join the university.
“We are committed to ensuring that the Zanzibar campus is welcoming and has an inclusive environment for all students, regardless of one’s gender,” said Ms Aghalayam, a professor in Chemical Engineering and a strong advocate for gender equality in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education.
The fee for selected students is 16,000 US dollars for the four-year undergraduate and 8000 US dollars for master’s degree.
IIT Madras, the top-ranked educational institute in the country, has become the first IIT in the country and Africa and will contribute to the advancement of the continent.
Mr Yussuf Hassan Hamad, a student from Zanzibar, and Mr Said Prakash from Mwanza, among students studying Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (DSAI), thanked the University and the Tanzanian government for establishing the higher learning institute.