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Students born abroad forced to stay away from IITs

Students born abroad forced to stay away from IITsIn the 90s, India used to deal with the problem of brain drain as many IT professionals and other prominent academicians and geniuses used to go abroad for better opportunities. Now that India is inching up its way in the list of developing countries, many of them are choosing to come back. But unfortunately their children who have been born abroad (during their stay in the foreign country) and do not hold Indian citizenship are not allowed to take admission in the IITs - most prestigious engineering institutes of India.

It means that these students (some of whom are quite bright) are forced to take admission in the second-rung institutes like NITs or IIITs through the Direct Admission to Students Abroad (DASA) channel using their SAT 2 scores, or apply for universities abroad.

IITs do not accept SAT 2 scores and do not offer DASA facility to foreign students, NRI (Non-Resident Indians), OCI (Overseas Citizenship of Indians) or PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) students even if they have been studying in India for several years.The problem has risen ever since the 2-step JEE examination system has been introduced.

Earlier, admission to NITs and IIITs was based on AIEEE exam which was open only to Indian nationals. Other students could seek admissions to NITs and IIITs offered the DASA channel. For IIT admissions, IIT JEE was conducted which imposed no restrictions on the nationality of the students.

JEE Main eligibility criteriaNow when the JEE Main has replaced AIEEE, JEE Main eligibility criteria still mentions that only Indian citizens can take the exam and other students can take advantage of the DASA facility. However, since JEE Main is also the screening test for JEE Advanced exam (the entrance test for the IITs) and students have to be in Top 1,50,000 of the JEE Main merit list to appear for the IIT JEE exam, there is no way for students born abroad to squeeze through the process.

IITThousands of Indians who travelled abroad for higher education and jobs years ago and had children there are in a fix right now due to this Catch-22 situation.Even if the students have appeared for their Class 10 and Class 12 board exams in India, they deemed ineligible to write the JEE Main exam because of their nationality.  It means that they cannot target IITs. It is especially painful for IIT aspirants who had been preparing for the IIT JEE exam for last 4 years. Affected parents and students are now demanding that IITs should either introduce DASA too allowing them to submit their SAT scores or allow them to sit for JEE Main and Advanced exams too.