In a first, the form for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) this year allowed candidates to mark their gender as ‘other’ instead of male or female, and 36 of the nearly 10 lakh candidates who took the test chose the option.
“This is also a category in society, we didn’t want to leave anyone out,” said Prasanna Gandhi, vice chairperson, GATE 2013.
GATE qualifies students for entry into the Mtech and Phd programmes at the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore), as well as several other engineering colleges. Of the 36 candidates who claimed to be from the ‘other’ category on the form, three qualified.
Results were declared on Friday morning. The test was conducted online for 15 papers on January 20 and offline for six papers on February 10. IIT Bombay was the organising institute for the exam this year.
Candidates who have qualified can use their scores to apply to the programmes, but are not guaranteed admission. The score will also be used by 15 public sector undertakings (PSUs) to recruit students.
Maharashtra had the third highest number of candidates qualifying (9,951), after Andhra Pradesh (22,476) and Uttar Pradesh (22,400). Women comprised 20.9% of the candidates who qualified.
“It was a bit surprising that I came second, the paper was a little tough,” said Swapnil Gusani, 24, who came second in the computer science merit list.
The numbers of takers for the exam has been growing every year. Last year 7.8 lakh candidates appeared for it, this year it rose to 12.1 lakhs.
“One big reason for this is the number of PSUs using GATE scores for recruitment,” said Umesh Bellur, organising chairman, GATE 2013.”
The GATE score is valid for two years.