Foreign students aware of IITs; then why are IIT teams going for awareness visits abroad?

Ever since news of JEE being conducted in foreign countries spread, the MHRD released notifications of the co-ordinating institute for the programme, and the fee structure for foreign students. It was also stated in a recent notification that IIT teams, headed by IIT Bombay (the co-ordinating institute) will be travelling to various countries to create awareness about studying in India.

According to the Institute Secretary for International Relations, IIT Bombay, “Students in foreign countries want to take admission in IITs. The introduction of an entrance exam in these countries is thus solving that demand.” But if there is already a demand for admission opportunities to IITs in the foreign countries, then why are IIT teams conducting awareness drives? As of now, there are no special plans carved as to how the IITs will go about attracting more foreign applicants for the JEE next year. The IITB Institute Secretary, says, “We will first set up a couple of JEE centres in the main areas of various countries to see how any students come forward to register or inquire. We need to know how many people are aware of the JEE and IITs in these countries. Only then can we plan something further.”

Moreover, the MHRD notification states that only eligible candidates in foreign countries will be allowed to take the entrance exam; but it hasn’t mentioned what criterion would determine the eligibility of the students. (See image below) Most IITs have pre-set procedures for admission of foreign students to their institute, such as providing recommendation letters and TOEFL scores. However, with the introduction of JEE in some countries, it is still unclear if the IITs will do away with these criteria. “This can only be determined after we visit the countries and have a rough number of prospective applicants. If the applicant count is too high, then we will probably need a second filtering mechanism,” said the Dean of International Relations, IIT Bombay.

JEE 2017 is scheduled to be held in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Singapore, UAE and Ethiopia.