Concerned over the fall in the number of girl students getting admission at the premier engineering institutions of the country, the Indian Institutes of Technology have decided to admit more women from the 2018 academic session. The decision was taken at the Joint Admission Board (JAB) of the IITs on Saturday. The board approved a supernumerary (over and above the actual intake) quota for girls in a phased manner, reaching up to 20% over a maximum of eight years.
Around 8.8% women were admitted to IITs in 2014, and the figure went up to 9% in 2015, but in 2016 it came down to 8% of the student strength at 23 IITs across the country. The IIMs too witnessed a three-year low of gender diversity in 2016 despite ongoing efforts.
In order to address the decline of women candidates in the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the Joint Admission Board (JAB) had set up a panel last year, under the chairmanship of Professor Timothy Gonsalves to find ways to rectify the situation in the institutes.
A member of the JAB said that, “The supernumerary quota has been created to combat gender imbalance. Already the number of female aspirants taking the entrance is less. Even if they don’t qualify under general category, women will be admitted through the supernumerary quota”.
“The 20% supernumerary seats which will be implemented in a phased manner, will be filled by women candidates who have qualified Joint Engineering Entrance (Advanced). Also, they should be in the top 20 percentile in their respective board exams,” said a senior official of the ministry of human resource development, who was present in the meeting.
The increase will not affect the existing number of seats for male students as the supernumerary seats will be additional seats reserved for female candidates and the changes would be implemented over a maximum of eight years by 2026. Also, the seats vacated by woman students will be filled by woman candidates only.
The supernumerary quota for girls student will start at 14% from 2018, a hike of around 600 seats taking the total quota to 1,440 seats. Officials, however, said the exact number could vary and will be decided on a year to year basis. “We expect increased interest among female candidates following this reservation,” said the HRD official.
“Due to societal preferences and biases in India, by and large, girls are not encouraged to have extra coaching and that is one of the reason why even those who are interested could not qualify,” said another HRD official.
There has been a two percentage point dip in the number of girls who cleared JEE (Advanced) in 2016 as compared to 2015. The committee has also recommended long-term measures to be taken at the school level so that more girls take JEE (Advanced). Besides this, the admissions panel also decided that all candidates will get seven rounds of counselling, two more than the present number.
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