The Joint Admission Board (JAB) of IITs decided on Sunday that students from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Singapore, the UAE and Ethiopia will be allowed to directly appear for the JEE (advanced) test, skipping the JEE (main) that Indian students have to take.
“The idea has been approved in-principle. Each IIT will also ratify it and the IIT council will approve it next week", an official said. This was being done to showcase India's soft power. In any case, he said, foreign students would not eat into the seats meant for Indians. The principal reason, however, is to make it to the list of top international educational institutions. “In all international rankings, one of the key parameters is international students, and IITs lose out in a big way despite scoring well on other parameters", other official said.
“Foreign nationals will be given seats under supernumerary category", he said, adding that IIT-Bombay was entrusted with the job of implementing the programme. Exam centers will be set up in the nine countries. While Pakistan has been left out due to the home ministry's objection, the choice of Ethiopia as the only country from Africa has evinced curiosity.
“We have had got a large number of Ethiopian students in post-graduate courses. IITs are popular there", said Gautam Biswas, director, IIT-Guwahati, which has had eight MTech students from Ethiopia. The UAE, an official said, was selected as people of diverse nationalities reside in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The cost of admission will be fully recovered from the foreign student.
To fill faculty gaps, BTech students may get PhD entry.
At the IIT council meeting next week, the HRD ministry will propose a new research scholar scheme to identify 1,000 bright BTech students from premier engineering colleges to be admitted into PhD programmes. The proposal may include using hefty scholarships as incentive for students to make the switch. A ministry official said the idea was to resolve the problem of faculty crunch at IITs.