President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday expressed concern over the low intake of female students at Indian Institutes of Technology and said the matter should be addressed as a “national priority”. “The IIT system has given every Indian many moments of happiness and pride. Yet there is one issue that continues to puzzle and concern me. When it comes to IITs, the intake of girl students is distressingly low,” Kovind said during his address at the 64th annual convocation of IIT-Kharagpur.
“In 2017, about 1,60,000 candidates appeared for the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced). Only some 30,000 were girls… I am told that 11,653 students are enrolled at IIT-Kharagpur at present, but only 1,925 are girls —a little over 16 per cent,” he said.
Appealing to the IITs to change this trend, the President said: “This cannot go on. We need to do something about these numbers. The participation of women in higher education, in science and technology, and in the workforce of our country has to rise to fair and acceptable levels within the coming decade. This should be a national priority, and the IIT community must take the lead.”
IIT-Kharagpur has increased its intake of female students from eight per cent to 15 per cent this academic year.