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ONLY 75 girls have taken admission to the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, (IIT-B) at the end of the first round of admissions — 8.18 per cent of the enrollment so far. A total of 917 students sought admissions to engineering courses across 16 streams at the institute in the first round. The total available seats are 929, apart from three supernumerary seats. Even if the remaining 15 are all taken by girls, they will constitute only 9.6 percent of the new batch.
Director Devang Khakhar said: “A large number of girls who get good scores do not apply for the IITs. We need to understand the reasons behind this.” He said that a survey should be conducted by speaking to the girls who did not seek admissions despite clearing the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE). “Our women faculty are in touch with some of the candidates. Apart from counseling the candidates, they are also trying to understand their reservations,” said Khakhar.
Last year, girls formed only 8 per cent of the batch across all IITs in the country. In 2015, the figure was slightly higher at 9 per cent. In 2014, it was 8.8 per cent. The low visibility of girls caught the attention of the Joint Admission Board (JAB) of the IITs, considered one of the premier technical institutes in the country. A panel was set up to look into the poor representation and suggest ways to improve it.
One of the recommendations of the panel was to include supernumerary seats for women at each of the IITs. Earlier this year, the recommendation was approved by the JAB, which decided to add seats starting 2018 with an aim to reach 20 per cent representation by 2026. In a first this year, a special web-portal was launched last month to help aspiring girls get through the admission process. The portal was launched after the JEE Council observed that of the total number of girls who cleared the JEE (Adv) last year, only 38 per cent actually accepted a seat, pointing to a gap in the counselling process.
The portal was spearheaded by IIT Mandi Director Timothy Gonsalves, who is also the chairperson of the panel looking into the gender gap. Khakhar was hopeful that once these measures are in place from next year, the numbers would increase.
IIT-B favourite among toppers
The institute continued to remain the favourite among top scorers this year with 53 of the top 100 opting for a seat in IIT-B. Almost 72 per cent of the top 50 scorers chose IIT-B for an engineering course at the end of the first round of admissions this year, according to data from the Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JoSAA).
While the institute grabbed the biggest chunk of the “creamy layer” among its sister institutes, the number of toppers choosing IIT-B has reduced from last year’s 67. “We have some very good faculty members here. It is one of the things that attracts students to our institute,” said Khakhar.