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It is a possibility that from next year, the IIT JEE exam will be conducted simultaneously on the same date in about 10 countries. These 10 countries include the seven SAARC nations — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives — the UAE, Ethiopia and Singapore.
Since many CBSE affiliated schools were located in West Asian countries like the Arab Emirates, Government used to have the first round of IIT exams in such countries. Earlier the examination was only available for Indian expatriate population there.
Moreover if a student qualified in the first round, he/ she had to travel to India to appear for the second round of IIT JEE Advanced.
But from the next year, things will change. Now the students from all the 10 countries will give the exam on the same day and same time, sitting in their countries.
In January earlier this year, the IIT Council had approved opening doors to foreign nationals at the undergraduate level. Two rounds of meetings have been held between the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of External Affairs regarding the same.
"The Ministry of Home Affairs is looking at the proposal. We have told them that they can scrutinise the students' backgrounds at the time of application for visa," said a senior official from the ministry.
Currently, more than 800 students from West Asian countries are pursuing post-graduation at reputed IITs. . "The problem was that each IIT had its own policy. We are now streamlining it," a senior official who is privy to the developments said.
Moreover, from next year, nearly 10 per cent of the seats will be reserved for foreign students. But this measure will not have effect on Indian students, as there is also a proposal to add nearly 10,000 undergraduate seats to the existing capacity. IIT-Bombay is anchoring the outreach programme, including looking at the fee structure for foreign students.
The exact amount has not yet been decided, but authorities indicate it will be far higher than the Rs 2.5 lakh that Indian students have to shell out. Each year over 5 lakh students sit for IIT JEE, and about 10,000 of them are selected, making it one of the toughest tests to crack.