Hyderabad: Eight hundred supernumerary seats have been created for female candidates alone across the 23 IITs in the country to improve the skewed gender ratio in the premier institution.
The decision was taken on the instructions of the Ministry of HRD. Supernumerary seats in IITs were created to accommodate foreign students earlier.
A committee constituted by IIT recommended that female enrolment needs to be upped, from eight per cent in 2017 to 20 per cent by 2020 by the creation of supernumerary seats.
Many female rank holders told this newspaper that they could now get seats in the streams that they prefer due to the increase in the number of seats.
The fear of sending girl children away from home by parents is often cited for gender disparities in engineering which is why most female students give very limited options during counselling i.e. for courses available in their hometown IITs. “The number of seats for medicine is very little as opposed to engineering. There are merely 50,000 seats as opposed to the lakhs of seats available for engineering. So, if a girl gets into a premier institute of engineering, she might be dissuaded by her parents who will ask her to join somewhere in their hometown. But in medicine, there is no choice,” says Professor Dheeraj Sanghi, IIT Kanpur.
Only 20 per cent girls cleared JEE 2017 and only 40 per cent of them accepted seats in IITs despite being qualified. Dheeraj Sanghi, a professor at IIT Kanpur, says, “It is a good step by the IITs. Female candidates will be encouraged and with an influx of female students, we will hopefully see more female participation from the next few academic years.” With the increase in the female strength, the committee constituted by IIT hopes to create a more gender friendly campus.
Sruthi Nayak, a female student said, "The increase in number of seats will guarantee that we have a shot at getting seats in the stream we want. Otherwise we apply to other institutions such as NITs and so on for our preferred stream. Under the new scheme, extra seats are being introduced instead of reserving the existing seats.”