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IITs To Quadruple International Students And Create 1,000 International Student Scholarships

By   /  October 1, 2022  /  Comments Off on IITs To Quadruple International Students And Create 1,000 International Student Scholarships

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Gandhinagar, 01 October 2022: The 4th All IITs International Relations Conclave at the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) proposed more than quadrupling the number of international students on their campuses to 5 percent with targeted scholarships and creating International IIT Centres in neighbouring countries to bolster recruitment of international students at the country’s premier educational institutions.

The proposed Centres in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, which send the largest number of students to India, would serve to leverage the IIT brand to expand their reach to attract the brightest students from the region to the IITs. Internationalisation is a major focus under the New Education Policy, for expanding the educational experience of Indian students, and for enhancing the international stature and global university rankings of Indian educational institutions.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the two-day Conclave, held from September 30-October 01, 2022, Prof Amit Prashant, Officiating Director, IITGN, said, “IIT alumni are among the most visible and globalised of any educational institution in the world and the IIT educational brand is reputed worldwide. IITians today lead some of the world’s most iconic companies and these international centres would serve to raise the profile of the IITs in the region, contribute to significantly strengthening international student recruitment at the IITs and fostering international academic and research collaborations.”

Earlier, Prof Sandeep Verma, Secretary, Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), exhorted participants to develop ambitious solutions for globalising their campuses, saying, “We should not follow a piecemeal approach, but rather have a grand vision that is unique and far-sighted.”

The Conclave proposed creating 1,000 international student scholarships annually with the aim of substantially internationalising the campuses of the 23 IITs in the country. Participants said that many existing government schemes, such as ICCR Scholarships and Study in India, cannot be effectively utilised by the IITs because their admission deadlines are incongruent with the IIT academic calendar and their core target is undergraduate students, which the IITs do not admit directly. As a result, hundreds of international students admitted to the graduate programs of the IITs through these schemes are lost annually because they do not receive scholarships or the decisions arrive too late.

The scholarships aim to quadruple the international student pool in the IIT system to 5 percent from just 1 percent of the student population presently. It will enable the IITs to retain international students who were admitted to the IITs, but could join because of the lack of financial support.

The Conclave also proposed developing 200 overseas experience fellowships for IIT undergraduate students to pursue internships of 6-8 weeks at university or corporate labs abroad, as well as 100 PhD study abroad fellowships for IIT PhD students to spend a semester at some of the world’s leading universities for coursework, lab experience or research.

The institutes will develop proposals for these schemes to seek support from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of External Affairs, Department of Science & Technology (DST) and SERB.

Nearly 35 participants representing the International Relations offices of 19 IITs participated in the Conclave, which focused on strengthening internal capacities in international student recruitment, global student exchanges and enhancing the experience of international students at the IITs.

The participants shared successful programs and explored challenges in each of the three areas of student recruitment, student exchanges as well as creative ways to strengthen the educational and cultural experience of international students.

The conclave also explored collaborative opportunities within the IIT network for semester or other short-term exchanges for conferences, courses, lab internships, etc., as well as hosting a joint annual event at one of their campuses for international students at the various IITs.

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