If we evaluate engineering colleges in our country, the IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) are bound to be on top of the list. The Indian Institute of Technology, country’s premier Institute has fallen flat in its attempt to do a more global outlook after it failed to attract quality students from abroad. Having got the tag of the institution of eminence from the Centre, the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, has decided to double its intake of foreignstudents in the coming year. It is also looking at increasing the number of foreign students to 10% of its strength in five years.
Several IITs have been signing MoUs and establishing academic and research collaborations with foreign-based universities. But is it wooing more foreign student’s enrollment? certainly not. Fret not! Here’s the answer-
A CUMBERSOME ADMISSION PROCESS
Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) is one of the most famous Indian higher education brands outside the country. They are autonomous public institutions under the Ministry of Human Resource Development and are branded as the best Institutions in the country for engineering education and research in terms of quality and standards. While IITs have a global reputation for quality, they are nowhere on the international map. To increase our ranking around the world, drastic steps are being taken by the government.
Any candidate yearning to pursue a course at an IIT have to undertake either the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), for undergraduate students, or the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) for masters and Ph.D. applicants. To attract foreign students, IITs holds entrance tests in eight countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Singapore, and Dubai, (all SAARC countries) to select students for their undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Both these tests are considered as the toughest admission tests in the world. These admission processes for the IIT requires extensive preparation and is not conducive to attract foreign students. The Indian should be given the opportunity to compete globally with foreign students in the global market to show their worth and their talent to the world. Many foreign meritorious students are missing the opportunity due to this criterion, which is absolutely wrong from their point of view. Not only it is an injustice to these students but is also a loss for IITs and NITs; because they are missing global cream of students because of this criterion.
For more information regarding the current admission process, you can click on https://www.iitm.ac.in/content/foreign-national-admission-procedure.
The Institute needs to penetrate better among schools abroad to draw more candidates. They need to allocate funds on publicity.
A LOWER FELLOWSHIP FOR FOREIGN SCHOLARS
IITs have collaborated with 200+ foreign-based Universities but that does not guarantee higher foreign enrolment. The funding from the ministry is not enough to provide competitive fellowship for foreign scholars. You must provide a higher amount of fellowship to woo foreign scholars. The funds provided to international Ph.D. candidates will be similar to those given to domestic students – about 28,000 rupees ($407) per month and free accommodation. The institution is also reportedly forming a delegation to attract faculty from eastern Europe and Russia.
SHORTAGE OF FUNDING FROM THE GOVERNMENT
Several IITs is aiming to sign MOU to bring in foreign students and teachers to India via dual and joint degrees and exchange programs. But to implement this they will need a surplus amount of funding. They are also devoid of separate funding to send students or teachers abroad. In a recent report of the Reserve Bank of India, it has been seen that though the spending on overseas education by Indians have increased by many folds, the investment by foreign students in India has declined substantially.
THE CURRENT FEE STRUCTURE
The current fee structure of the foreign students is fixed Rs. 6,00,000 per annum, is 3 times that of the Indian students which is not competitive enough. In a recent meeting, the IIT Council, headed by the HRD (Human Resource Development) Minister, has come to the decision that the IITs will now be allowed to fix the fees for foreign students. It is not viable do demand such an exorbitant fee when your main plan is to attract quality students from middle and low- income countries like Africa and Asia.
However, in a recent meeting, The Indian Institute of Technologies in a move to improve international rankings and lure in students from abroad have proposed to cut the fees for foreign students. To revamp the education system and to improve the Global ranking of the Indian Institutes, the Government of India is taking steps to attract more foreign students in the next few years. Hence, the current stand to reduce the fees was the need of the hour. Beside tuition fees, the lack of adequate institutional support had always been a deterrent to attract foreign students to study in India.
Let us ponder at some important advantages of the IITs welcoming international students
- The induction of foreign students is being seen as a necessary move to improve the global ranking of institutions, as the Institute of eminence status is aimed at helping Indian institutions break into the global league. The various IITs should try to increase the number of foreign students and they should set a target to reach in the coming years. The QS ranking of higher education institutions across the world ranks them on five parameters — foreign faculty, foreign students, student-faculty ratio, research, and perception.
According to Department of Higher Education figures, a total of 46,144 students from 166 countries studied at Indian HEIs during 2017-18, with 63.4% hailing from just 10 countries and Nepal constituting 24.9% of the total.(http://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/statistics/AISHE2017-18_0.pdf)
The move will also draw quality foreign professors in these institutes, which will be helpful in boosting the number of international faculties. The proportion of international students and faculties plays a crucial parameter in the International Ranking of Engineering Institutes.
- Internal Placements will increase as International companies will show a keen interest in these colleges.
- With the arrival of foreign nationals, the overall quality of research will improve. The government is quite keen on having many foreign students at IITs as it will instantly boost the country’s international academic rankings.
The government is quite keen on having many foreign students at IITs as it will instantly boost the country’s international academic rankings. So, in order to blossom as an Institute of Global Importance, IIT need to rethink their strategy and take necessary steps to woo foreign students.