The populace at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) will undergo a metamorphosis soon. The IITs are trying to make engineering more reachable for girls and are hoping that the issue of gender asymmetry will be taken care of.
With the entrance examination a mere eight months away—on April 8—the IIT-JEE body has now decided to scrap application fee for girls. However, at the same time, it has raised this fee for boys, from R1,000 to R1,600 for online applications and R1,800 for physical applications.
“It is a matter of great concern for the IITs that there are fewer girls who take up engineering. For the boys, the application fee has been hiked to meet the increasing cost of technology,” said Sanjay Govind Dhande, director, IIT-Kanpur.
However, IIT authorities believe that the imbalance in the sex ratio within their institutes is not just due to conservative mindsets of families, but also because of the lack of appropriate infrastructure.
“A lot of families are reluctant to send their daughters to IITs as these are residential colleges. Also a lot of students have to relocate to big cities to join coaching classes. This deters a number of girls from appearing for the exam. But we also feel that hostel infrastructure for girls must increase, especially in IIT-Kanpur,” Dhande said.
However, the IITs have been witnessing a slow rise in the average enrollment rates of women in several programmes.“The enrollment rate for women in 2011 has been 20%. It is a matter of great pride to see women taking up postgraduate study in engineering at our institutes,” said K Gupta, dean of postgraduate studies, IIT.