JEE Advanced 2019: While the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) have created 10 per cent supernumerary seats and reserved over 1100 seats for foreign students across courses and institutes, the number of international applicants for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Advanced — the entrance test for IITs — was 807. Out of these, only 53 students appeared for the exam and only one qualified for admission to one of the most prestigious institutes in India.
The IITs have adopted several measures to woo foreign students to enrol here, including direct entry to IIT JEE Advanced. Clearing JEE Main and making it to the cut-off for Advanced is considered tough, so much so that of 11.47 lakh candidates who appeared for JEE Mains only 2.45 lakh qualified. But, foreign-nationals are exempted from appearing for the JEE Mains.
To be eligible to appear for the JEE Advanced, foreign nationals need to score at least 75 per cent aggregate marks in class 12 (or equivalent) or they should be among the top 20 percentile scorer in the foreign students’ category.
Further, IITs have also started conducted exams in foreign countries as well. This year, Nepal, Ethiopia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Dubai were in the list of exam centres which were to be allotted based on the availability of candidates.
Despite the sops, the trend shows not many desire to get a seat in the IIT. As per the official data, last year too, only 51 foreign students registered for the exam and 36 students appeared for JEE Advanced. Further, 212 Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and 36 Person Of Indian Origin (PIO) were eligible to appear for JEE Advanced 2018. In 2017, 20 OCI/PIO candidates and three foreign nationals were offered seats at IITs. A total of 597 foreign nationals registered for JEE Advanced 2017 of which 109 appeared and seven qualified.
In all these years, IIT-Madras and IIT-Delhi have been the top choice of foreign students as they have been consistently getting at least one foreign student from JEE Advanced over the past three years. In 2018, two foreign candidates were admitted each in IIT-Madras and IIT-Delhi. When IIT-Madras conducted the JEE Advanced in 2017, the highest number of foreign students – seven cleared the exam. Of these, only three applied for admission to IITs each in IIT Delhi, IIT Varanasi and IIT Bhilai.
But why are the foreign enrolments dismal despite heavy investments and several initiatives by IITs. Dean, IIT Madras – the institute with the arguably highest number of PhD collaborations, joint degrees with foreign institutes, Jagdeesh Kumar, said, “Even though the cost of living is comparatively cheaper here, many students chose to go to Western countries as the students are unsure about the jobs prospects in India. While many universities in Australia or the US provide jobs or stipend, unfortunately, such an opportunity is not yet explored in India.”
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He also added, “Most of the foreign students who apply are either from neighbouring South Asian countries or those having their family roots in India. There is a great need to popularise IITs and IIT-systems abroad so that more students can apply here.”
An official from IIT-Delhi, however, seemed to be satisfied with the number, “If hundreds of students are applying for JEE Advanced, it means that they want to study in India and in the IIT systems. However, the type of training which is required to crack JEE Advanced is not available there. Indian students start preparing for the exam while they are in class 9.” He added, “If you look at the number of postgraduate or PhD-level applications, the number is much higher.”