The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), autonomous public institutes of Higher Education (HE), had discussions with the HE Ministry to open a branch in Sri Lanka, a senior ministry official said.

HE Min. Additional Secretary (Development) Madhawa Devasurendra told Education Times that a delegation from the Institute has already met with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and HE Minister Lakshman kirella.

"The preliminary rounds of discussions were successful and the delegation is expected to send in formal proposals through the Indian government to establish a IIT branch," he said.

Mr Devasurendra said that, currently, the Institute only hold exams in Sri Lanka for admission to their Institutions in India, but soon, Sri Lanka students will be provided the opportunity, not only to sit the exams here, but also follow the courses here.

The first IIT was established in 1950 in Kharagpur and thereafter expanded to other provinces. Currently, there are over 69 IITs in India.

He said that, at the next round of discussions they hope to decide on the number of students to be enrolled, facilities and the location.

He said among the Degree courses students will be able to follow will be Engineering and Information Technology.

He said they also hope to discuss a scholarship programme for local students.

In addition to BTech, MTech and MS programmes, IITs also award other Degrees such as MSc in Maths, Physics and Chemistry, MBA, PhD etc. Admission to these IIT programmes is conducted through Common Admission Test (CAT), Joint Admission Test for Masters (JAM) and Common Entrance Examination for Design (CEED). Meanwhile the Sri Lanka Government will also look for more scholarship opportunities for Lankan students, in private universities in India.

They will develop a scheme where private institutions will offer scholarships to be publicised through the HE Ministry website.

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