“The idea has been approved in-principle. Each IIT will also ratify it and the IIT council will approve it next week,” an official said. This was being done to showcase India’s soft power. In any case, he said, foreign students would not eat into the seats meant for Indians.
The principal reason, however, is to make it to the list of top international educational institutions. “In all international rankings one of the key parameters is international students and IITs lose out in a big way despite scoring well on other parameters,” another official said. “Foreign nationals will be given seats under supernumerary category,” he said, adding IIT-Bombay was entrusted with the job of implementing the programme.
Exam centres will be set up in these countries. While Pakistan has been left out due to home ministry’s objection, the choice of Ethiopia as the only country from Africa has evinced a lot of curiosity. Justifying the choice, Gautam Biswas, director of IIT-Guwahati, said, “For the last many years, we have got a large number of Ethiopian students in post-graduate courses. IITs are popular there.”
IIT-Guwahati had eight MTech students from Ethiopia. The UAE, an official said, was selected as people of various nationalities reside in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The cost of admission will be recovered from the foreign student and the government will not bear any expense on account of foreign students. They will be given the same facilities as Indian students.