New Delhi: With a series of initiatives, India’s premier engineering and technology schools, the IITs, are getting serious about going global.
It’s nearly two decades late, as one of the IIT directors recently said, but it’s better late than never. While the IITs have a national mandate, in a globalized world where academic institutions are competitors for talent, industry income and reputation, a global outreach attempt is only natural.
IIT Delhi director V. Ramgopal Rao says IITs collectively need “cultural diversity" and foreign students and faculties will benefit the engineering schools both teaching-learning environment as well as in global rankings.
He says if IIT Delhi has 20% of its faculty and 20% of its total student strength from foreign countries it will make his IIT as one of the top 100 universities in the world. The comments come as India on Monday unveiled 1,000 fellowships for southeast Asian nations to pursue research at its 23 IITs.
IIT Delhi, from this academic session, has already slashed the tuition fee for undergraduate foreign students by 31% and that of doctorate students by more than 96%. Such moves are aimed at attracting more foreign students and research scholars to increase its global standing and become a more diverse institution than an India-focused engineering and technology school.
Besides, the IITs have collectively decided to conduct their joint entrance exam in San Francisco to attract students of Indian origin from 2020. Since there is a significant respect and awareness about IIT brand in the US, IITs felt that going to the US will be beneficial. In contrast, its decision to discontinue JEE exam centres in Addis Ababa and Colombo was driven by the fact that they did not get any applicants there in 2019. Besides, IITs are conducting JEE in Bangladesh, Dubai and Nepal. However, it’s too early and less than 1% of IIT students collectively are from foreign countries.
Not just the students, IITs collectively and individually are now going to countries like Canada, Australia, the US, Germany and UK to hire faculty. “80% of our faculty has an overseas degree or postdoc experience from some of the world's leading institutions, such as Cambridge, Harvard, MIT etc. IIT Gandhinagar is also one of India's most globalised campus. More than 40% of our undergraduate students receive an overseas study abroad, overseas internship or other experience; 30 of our PhD have a semester abroad experience. Between 10% and 15% of our faculty is visiting faculty, primarily from overseas," said Sudhir Jain, Director of IIT Gandhinagar.