JEE set to add US centre for foreign applicants to IITs
Next year’s Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) for admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) is likely to be held in San Francisco for the first time in a move aimed at attracting students from the United States to India’s premier engineering institutions, according to senior officials familiar with the matter.
Though Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Dubai (UAE), Kathmandu (Nepal) and Singapore were among foreign centres where the IIT JEE (Advanced) 2019 exam was held, it has never been conducted in the US.
“There is a clear tech link between India and the United States and the IIT system has been receiving requests, including from the Silicon Valley area, regarding the possibility of such a test. There is also a sizeable diaspora in the US, many of them in the technology sector. So, a decision has been taken that a centre will also be set up in San Francisco for the 2020 JEE (Advanced) test which is likely to be held in the month of May,” said one of the senior officials cited above who asked not to be named.
When contacted, V Ramgopal Rao, the director of IIT-Delhi, said that the move was driven by IIT alumni in the US.
“There are a lot of Indians in the Bay Area in San Francisco. When one of our delegations visited the US, the Indians there, including IIT alumni, expressed wish to get a chance to let their children study in the IITs. So a decision has been taken to include San Francisco in the list of centres,” Rao said.
“We are hoping that, apart from the diaspora, other students in the US will also try to join the IITs,” he added.
While Indian students have to undergo a screening test in the JEE (Mains) exam, after which shortlisted students can appear for IIT JEE (Advanced),foreign students can directly take the second test for admission to the undergraduate course.
For next year’s exam, about 250,000 Indian students will be shortlisted from the JEE (Advanced), according to a third official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
There were a total of 13,604 undergraduate seats in all 23 IITs this year.
The move to take the IIT entrance exam to the US also comes at a time when the Union government is making strong efforts to get more foreign students to study in top Indian colleges.
The human resources development ministry has been making strong attempts to put Indian institutions into the top rungs of the global higher education rankings. However, as ranking surveys have repeatedly pointed out, internationalisation is a major area where Indian institutions can perform better.
“I welcome this reverse engineering in admissions. Most of our IITs are of global standards and can be excellent centres for technology studies not only for students of Indian diaspora but also students of the US and other countries. Many other reputed engineering institutes in India like NITs,IIITs are of international standards and have the potential of becoming hubs for attracting foreign students,” said former UGC member Professor Inder Mohan Kapahy.