At the Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi), there's a revolution of sorts underway, with more girls than boys among the multitude of budding engineers. This is largely due to the rise in enrollment rate of girls this academic year by 3%, as against that in 2010.
Of about 800 students enrolled in 2011 in the undergraduate courses this year, 111 are girls, about 13% as against 10% in 2010. The postgraduate enrollment this year stands at 20% of the total admitted students.
"There has been a marked increase in the number of girls taking admission in IITs. This year, about 111 girls have been admitted across all disciplines. There are more girls in streams such as textile technology and chemical engineering," said Shantanu Choudhury, dean of undergraduate studies, IIT.
The girls' academic performance, too, has shown an upward trend over the last few years.
"Even though the overall topper is a boy, girls have won silver medals in different streams. Quite a few streams have female toppers. In fact, out of 15 disciplines, girls have topped in six disciplines," Choudhury said.
This trend, the institute believes, could inspire several girls to take up engineering as a career in the future.
"Preparing for the IIT-JEE is a tedious task which tends to deter girls. Girls are becoming aware of the viable career options after pursuing engineering so much so that the topper this year in electrical engineering is a girl," he added.
In the postgraduate disciplines as well, the increased enrollment of women has been heartening, with girls outshining boys in computer science applications, Instrument Technology and Design engineering.
"It is a matter of pride to see many women taking up postgraduate studies in engineering at IIT, specially in disciplines such as computer science and electrical engineering. This is spread out across all fields of postgraduate study such as M Tech, MSc and PhD. We have also noted that the number of girls appearing for the joint entrance has gone up steadily," said K Gupta, dean of postgraduate studies, IIT.