Dubai: The Indian government has reinstated the two-year study abroad admission criteria for expatriate students to engineering and technical colleges in India following a ruling by the Delhi High court on May 22, this year, much to the relief of protesting parents.

The Direct Admission for Students Abroad (DASA) website that has been updated following the High Court order states that with effect from May 22, 2017, the residential criteria for undergraduate (UG) admissions under DASA for Indian nationals shall be: “at least two years of education inclusive of 11th and 12 grade or equivalent in a foreign country during the last eight years and they must pass the qualifying examination from abroad”. This rule has been made applicable only for 2017-2018 admissions and is likely to be amended.

It may be recalled that on April 1, just one day before Indian expatriate students could apply for undergraduate engineering and technical courses in India, the Indian government had abruptly amended the DASA eligibility criteria to a minimum of five years’ study abroad instead of the mandatory two years. This had affected many Indian expatriate students in the UAE and other GCC countries, especially in cases of students whose parents were on deputation for only two years abroad until 2016. The student is also required to take a Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).

Sumeet Baruah, the father of an affected student, Rohil Baruah, told Gulf News he was relieved and thrilled by the ruling of the High Court which directed the government to amend the new eligibility criteria. Baruah senior, an Indian national who was on deputation in a multinational company to the UAE for two years and his son Rohil, a grade 12 student of Delhi Private School, Sharjah who had secured a perfect 2,400 SAT score was considered ineligible for the admission under DASA as two years were extended to five years.

Parents of students seeking admission are upset about a few other things as there is a lot of confusion about the admission quota. Earlier, there was a separate quota for Children of Indians Working in the Gulf (CIWG). Their fees were also on a par with students in India. Students under the Non-Resident Indian (NRI) quota, which included all Indian students across the globe, were expected to pay $7,500 per year.

A disgruntled parent told Gulf News: “Now the fees for CIWG and NRI have both been brought up to $8,000. But students studying in the Gulf are being asked to apply either through CIWG quota or NRI quota. Now there are only five per cent seats in the CIWG quota and 10 per cent in the NRI quota. When the fees have been brought on a par, why create this confusion in the minds of Gulf students?” he questioned.

Another parent suggested that the DASA website must have a dedicated blog for parents to be able to post their queries and get replies. Right now, Gulf parents are running such blogs on their own initiative and complain that the technical institute in Nagpur in charge of handling the admissions does not respond to any of their queries and often guides them to a standard set of FAQs on the website.

“With fast-changing rules, we have new queries and would want the officials to provide solutions through regularly updated blog. But we are struggling with so many doubts,” said another parent.