By Shikha Sreenivas
A panel set up by the Joint Admission Board (JAB) analysed the dip in female students qualifying for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), and recommended a 20 percent quota for female students.
According to the Hindustan Times, the panel, led by Professor Timothy Gonsalves was created after there was a 2 percent decline in the number of female students who qualified through the IIT Advanced exam in 2016, from the previous year. Reportedly, in 2015, over 1,000 women cracked the exam (10 percent of the total 10,000 seats), but only 840 of them were in the institutes in 2016-2017.
PTI reported that to qualify for the quota, the students need to be in the top 20 percentile of their board examinations, as well as clear the JEE Advanced exam. Apparently, women are only 10 percent of the total student intake for undergraduate programmes.
The final decision will be taken by the JAB based on the capacities of individual IITs, and their available facilities and space. It is also to be decided whether the reservation should be started in 2017 or 2018. The number of male candidates taken in will reportedly not be affected by the reservations, the final target being 1 lakh by 2020.
One academic suggests that a reason for the low intake of women is because while almost every IIT aspirant goes to a coaching center, a female student may be less encouraged than a male to be allowed to pursue her education with such dedication. Even if this reservation, if passed by the JAB, aims to increase the number of women present at the IITs and consequently, in the world of engineering and science, the real prejudices still exist at the lower levels of school education.