Overseas Citizens of India barred from JEE

Overseas Citizens of India barred from JEE

Students with Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) status have been barred from taking entrance tests conducted for admissions to centrally funded technical institutes in India (IITs and NITs) notwithstanding equal educational opportunities guaranteed to them as a right under the Citizenship Act.

As a result, OCIs living in India with their family are facing a tough time to plan the future of their children. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other higher educational institutions do open doors for the OCIs under a scheme for direct admission of students coming from abroad but the number of seats under this quota is very limited. Moreover, the admission and tuition fee for OCIs charged under the direct admission scheme is too high compared to that for Indian students.

According to Home Ministry’s guidelines under the Citizenship Act, the OCIs must be treated on a par with the Non-Resident Indians (NRI) in “financial, economic and educational fields, except in the acquisition of agriculture or plantation properties.”

However, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which conducts Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)-Main for admissions to centrally funded technical institutes, has declared the OCIs ineligible to take the nationwide test.

“The NRIs can still take the JEE-Main examination. The OCI card holders were permitted to pursue higher education in India based on merit in past. The changes have been made recently,” Rajanna Sreedhara, an OCI and a consultant nephrologist based in Bengaluru told Deccan Herald, describing the restriction put on the OCIs by the CBSE as “unfair and illegal”.

Sreedhra, whose daughter wants to pursue undergraduate programme in science or engineering subjects in India, has raised the issue with the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, requesting it to “immediately” instruct the CBSE, NITs and other centrally funded institutes to change “such illegal policy” of admission and allow “meritorious” OCIs to participate in the tests conducted for admissions.

Denial of opportunities

“Such denial of educational opportunities to talented children who have studied in India entirely, or for most part, and would like to pursue further education in India is unfair, unjust, illegal and highly damaging to the psyche of the students,” he sought in his letter to the ministry on June 15.

He also brought to the notice of the ministry that Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, too has restricted OCIs from applying for award of fellowship in basic sciences under a national scheme, Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojna (KVPY), funded by the Union Ministry of Science and Technology.

The HRD ministry did not give any response when contacted. An e-mail sent to the ministry’s spokesperson by Deccan Herald for comments remained unanswered till this report was filed.

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