The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will be adding 779 seats for women applicants for their July 2018 session as a supplement to the normal intake process. This decision comes shortly after the Joint Admission Board (JAB) committee’s proposed recommendations to improve the gender ratio balance. As of 2017, just 9% of women applicants made it to the 23 IITs across the country.

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The MHRD aims to improve the gender balance at the premier institutes by up to 20% by the year 2020. It has been found that over the years, women have been performing exceedingly well in their Class 12th physics, chemistry and mathematics examinations, as well as in engineering.

Figure.1.

Current %’age of women students across IITs

Then why have the number of women candidates selected for IITs hasn’t been on the upswing?

There is an inherent bias within the Indian society which prefers a son’s education over that of a daughter’s. This mindset could also be the reason for a smaller proportion of women students enrolling in Kota’s IITJEE coaching centers or even in metropolitan cities like Mumbai or Delhi. Even among qualified women candidates, there is a parental restriction in terms of favoring a specific set of courses, campuses and locations.

Fig.2.

IIT wise split of the supernumerary seats from 2018 session

How will the IITs accommodate the revised women student intake?

The increased intake for women candidates would be absorbed by the IITs in proportion to their current deficit in the same. IIT Kharagpur would get the maximum share of the increased seats with 113 additional seats for women followed by IIT Dhanbad (79), Kanpur (79), Varanasi(BHU) (76), Roorkee(68), Delhi(59), Bombay(58) and Guwahati(57). With an increased focus on getting women candidates to form atleast 20% of the total student strength, the seats would increase annually across IITs.

The MHRD and the IIT council aims to address this gender gap and hopes that the additional seats compensate for the same. Not only will this move make parents more aware of the higher probability of their daughters getting into an IIT, it would also eventually lead more girls to comes forward and be a part of STEM fields.

All this calls for a streamlined approach towards improving gender ratio not only in IITs but also in other central institutes across the country.

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