22 Jun 2019
IITs fail to attract foreign students: Here's why
Written byAyushi Chamoli
That's however not the case with foreign students.
Even after reserving over 1,100 seats for international students, the IITs have failed to woo them this year.
Interestingly, 807 foreign students registered, but only 53 appeared for the exam.
This year 807 foreign students registered for the exam
While the process of getting into the IITs is quite rigorous for Indian students, the foreign nationals have to simply appear for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Advanced.
This means, they are exempted from appearing for the JEE Mains, which is the qualifying exam for Advanced for the Indian students.
Of 53 students who appeared for JEE Advanced, only one managed to clear it.
In 2017, highest number of foreign students cleared JEE Advanced
In 2018 and 2017, the total number of international students who appeared for the test were 36 (out of 51 registrations) and 109 (597) respectively.
In 2017, when IIT-Madras had conducted the JEE, highest number of foreign students were selected for IITs, at 7.
This year, the exam was conducted at six centers outside India, in Addis Ababa, Colombo, Dhaka, Dubai, Kathmandu and Singapore.
Measures taken for foreign applicants flexible, but not yielding results
Now, coming to the eligibility criteria for these foreign students who are interested to attempt JEE, they should secure at least 75% marks in their Class XII Board (or equivalent).
Or, they should be within the top 20 percentile scorers in the foreign students' category.
Last year, IIT-D even said that it has planned to cut the fee for the foreign students.
Last year, IIT-D even cut fees for foreign students
While the fee for the undergraduate foreign students was cut by 31%, for the doctorate students, it was cut by over 96%.
This was significant, as plans were afloat of increasing the fee from $4,000 (current) to $8,000/annum.
"We're not looking to make money. We want to internationalize the institution," reasoned V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT-D.
Still, the number of foreign applicants remains not-so-encouraging.
Many choose western countries because of more job opportunities
Talking about the possible reasons despite several efforts, IIT Madras Dean Jagdeesh Kumar, pointed out, "Even though the cost of living is comparatively cheaper here, many students choose to go to Western countries, as the students are unsure about the jobs prospects in India."
He further highlighted that India also lacks stipend/job opportunities as compared to other countries like the USA or Australia.
Great need to popularize IITs, IIT-systems abroad, says Kumar
He further said, "Most of the foreign students who apply are either from neighboring South Asian countries or those having their family roots in India. There is a great need to popularize IITs and IIT-systems abroad so that more students can apply here."
Meanwhile, IIT-Delhi and IIT-Madras top choices among foreign students
Notably, IIT-Delhi and IIT-Madras have been the top choices among foreign students.
Over the last three years, at least one foreign student has been enrolling in these two colleges every year.
While in 2018, both the colleges took one foreign student each, only one student opted for IIT-Delhi in 2017, and two other selected students opted for IIT-Varanasi and IIT-Bhilai.