upGrad, Asia’s largest integrated learning skilling and workforce development company announced the setting up of upGrad Institute of Medical Sciences (UIMS), a fully-offline campus in the Republic of Vanuatu to attract and train global talent with modern-day clinical competencies and build the next crop of skilled medical practitioners. The company earmarks $10 million to launch the university.
UIMS is expected to invite enrolments from the second half of June this year.
The announcement comes soon after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a 12-point development agenda for the Pacific Island Nations while making healthcare, renewable energy, and cyber-security the focus areas of development. He further allocated a significant budget to build a super-speciality cardiology hospital in Fiji.
“We have been working with the Ministry of Health & Govt. of Vanuatu at all levels to incubate a fully-offline educational campus to bring the world-class and recognised curriculum to the region natives and also promote the internationalisation of higher education. This initiative is a part of our multi-campus strategy where we aim to set up at least 3 medical schools in the Pacific region along with a few more in select geographies. As our conversation advances, the GOI’s support has come in time and highlights the shared commitment to introduce strong growth pillars for the country. Our expansion will also accelerate cross-border synergies between the two countries and put Vanuatu on the world map for all good reasons,” said Gaurav Kumar, Head of Corporate Development & M&As at upGrad.
The official statement also highlighted that up to 10 meritorious candidates from Vanuatu will be given a 100% scholarship on tuition fees and the proposed medical school will also be training doctors at the Port Vila Hospital periodically, on new developments in medicine and patient care. upGrad has on-boarded Debtirtha Banerjee to spearhead operations in Pacific region and across select geographies for setting up other medical schools. In his almost 2 decades of work experience, Deb has spent 13 years in Education and worked across Advertising, Automobiles, Publishing, and Healthcare sectors.
“Vanuatu is at the centre of the educational revolution which also makes it a business-ready geography for us. We are on a mission to make our outcome-focused pedagogy a global phenomenon and our strategic expansion will allow us to build a highly-equipped learning institute for the world to see. We have a strong presence in Australia, and this move in Vanuatu, which shares proximity with Australia and New Zealand, will be a critical piece in strengthening our South Pacific footprints,” concluded Ronnie Screwvala, Co-founder & Chairperson, upGrad.
The India HQ skilling giant has also committed $50,000 to Vanuatu Prime Minister’s Relief Fund to further enhance healthcare services at the Port Vila Central Hospital in the region. It will provide the Govt. of Vanuatu with a new tranche of technology and financial aid and the ability to scale across boundaries.