Starting next year, entrance tests for the prestigious IITs will be held in eight countries, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Dubai, to select foreign students for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
The decision was taken at a meeting between the human resource development (HRD) and the external affairs (MEA) ministries.
So far, entrance tests that took place abroad were held only to admit Indian nationals in 18 IITs. “This is the first time we have planned to admit foreign students by holding tests abroad. To begin with, we will admit students from the JEE/GATE exams to be conducted in 2017,” a senior HRD ministry official said.
The students will be selected through a common entrance exam that will be administered by the IITs with the help of Indian missions in these countries.
However, to ensure there is no reduction in seats for Indian students, seats offered to foreign nationals will be additional in nature.
The fee paid by foreign students will also be higher compared to the subsidised fee that Indian students pay.
The government is keen on more foreign students studying at IITs as it could boost the international academic rankings of the institutions. To facilitate these foreign students, the MEA will consider giving them research visa for the duration of the programme rather than one year at a time.
Though the test will be held in 2017, the outreach programme for the exercise will begin from August this year. IIT Mumbai has been asked to prepare the necessary information material for the outreach. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) will be the nodal agency on behalf of the MEA for these tests.