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Despite their impressive global rankings, IITs have failed to catch the fancy of international aspirants this year.
Only 36 candidates have registered for JEE (Advanced)—the entry level test for admission to IITs—as against 69 last year. Eventually, only 31 had appeared for the test last year and seven qualified.
IITs have been making efforts over the last few years to increase diversity of students on campus. Only last year, the premier institutes decided to reach out to international students in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Singapore, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and the UAE, and held exams in the countries.
“We have been releasing admission details from time to time on our website and are also taking all measures to promote the institutes in these countries. We approach Indian embassies in the selected countries with all the admission data required to ensure smooth conduct of the test,” an official from the JEE (advanced) organizing committee said.
However, the efforts are not translating into numbers for the country’s elite group of institutes. “Our country must offer good liveable and social conditions, safety and security to international students to make it a lucrative destination. Why do our students prefer studying in the western part of Europe and not eastern Europe? Why do we prefer going to northern America instead of southern. It is the same case here. People look at options to study abroad also for a prospective career destination. Holding exams in select countries may not yield desirable results,” a professor said. A large majority of students taking exams from international centres are Indians.
Meanwhile, IITs continue to perform well on global ranking indicators such as academic and employers’ reputation, and research. IIT-Delhi and IIT-Bombay have managed to make it to the top 200 universities globally in 2018.
Indranil Manna, former director of IIT-Kanpur, said that getting international students is a must to improve the standards of higher education in the country, to bring competitiveness and also to bring diverse culture on campuses. “It is always desirable to have international students on campus. We, however, need to have a more defined strategy to attract students. We should hold online exams such as GRE and GMAT across nations and not restrict ourselves to a few countries. There are good students everywhere. Creating good infrastructure for international students, including hostels and dining facilities, and charging them actuals instead of subsidized rates could also prove to be helpful,” Manna said.
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