IITs plan to invite students from Asean countries
The country’s premier engineering colleges – the IITs – could from December onwards have hundreds of students and researchers from Asean countries on their ranks as the Union HRD ministry is looking east to fulfil its twin objectives of getting more international students and boosting research.
The ministry has on Thursday readied a plan under which 1,000 students from Asean countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam etc would be given fellowships to undertake research in the Indian Institutes of Technology.
“The proposal is to offer 1,000 doctoral fellowships to students from Asean countries. The scheme is budgeted at ~300 crore and will be a part of the IIT system. It has been decided that the IIT at Delhi will be the nodal agency for the Asean fellowships scheme. The first students would be admitted from December this year onwards,” a senior official said.
The IITs will, from their own resources, provide living expenses to these scholars, the committee led by Higher Education secretary R Subrahmanyam, that worked on the contours of the plan, has held.
In the past as well, IITs have turned their gaze to the neighbourhood to attract international students to their campuses.
Over a year ago, a plan was formulated to hold entrance tests to these institutions in SAARC countries, excluding Pakistan, to get international students. However, the plan met with limited success.
When asked, an official said that the present scheme with regard to Asean countries was more thorough in nature.
“The Asean countries are traditional friends and India has historical linkages that span centuries. Many of them have quite good educational systems in place so we can expect quality students. It has also been decided that a system would be put in place with the help of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs to facilitate a fast track visa for the students selected under the programme,” the official said.
Apart from boosting research, the scheme could help branding India as a global education destination and help premier schools climb global rankings.
“IITs are our premier institutions in technology and applied sciences and can help establish India as an academic hub for research for Asean countries students. Once prestige of India grows foreign students in many other academic disciplines shall be attracted,” said eminent educationist Prof I M Kapahy.