Students in Africa and Saarc countries will next year get a chance to join India’s top engineering colleges, with the government planning to take the admission test overseas. But, Pakistan is not part of the plan.
According to sources, the government has decided that students from Pakistan, one of the eight members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, cannot study at the Indian Institutes of Technology or sit the joint engineering examination (Advanced). Earlier, only Indian students could write the JEE.
“There were a number of issues that had to be taken into account as to whether students from Pakistan will be able to get visa or not if we decided to hold exam there. So it has been decided not to hold the entrance exam there,” a human resource development ministry official said. “Fieldwork for the other countries will start by August.”
The state of bilateral ties -- tense even at the best of times -- between India and Pakistan has often spilled on to areas like sport. Some Saarc initiatives such as the South Asia transport corridor have failed to take off because the two sides couldn’t resolve differences.
Earlier, it was decided that the ministry would conduct JEE (advanced), which selects candidates for the top technical institutes in India, and GATE in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Dubai among other countries, another HRD official said.
To get the plan going, former JEE (Advanced) chairpersons will visit schools in the target countries to gauge students’ interest in IITs, which enjoy a good standing globally.
The ministry had in January decided that IITs would offer some seats to foreign students on supernumerary basis, which means seats would be added to accommodate overseas students. At present, foreigners can only join IITs as exchange students.
There is a fierce competition to get into IITs. More than one million aspirants appeared for the JEE main examination this year.
The outreach programme will be conducted in Saarc countries, Ethiopia, Singapore and Dubai. “An outreach programme informing about the IITs, their strength, and the common entrance exam will be taken up by the Indian missions working in close conjunction with the IITs,” the ministry official said.