For the first time in history, two girls have ranked in the top 10 in the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) for admission to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
Aditi Laddha from Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh ranked sixth, while Leena Madhuri from Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh placed eighth. Both small-town girls want to study computer science.
Pallerla Sai Sandeep Reddy of Andhra Pradesh has topped the IIT JEE 2013 exam, scoring 332 marks out of 360.
While the first two ranks are from the IIT-Madras zone, the next two ranks are from the IIT-Delhi zone. Kartikeya Gupta of Delhi placed fourth becoming the North India topper. "I would choose computer science at IIT-Delhi. Besides reading, I love to play the tabla," he said.
The gender swing however continues to be still weighed heavily in favour of boys, with only around 11% of girls being called for counselling, almost similar to that of last year.
The total number of girls in the top 100 this year is four, up by one from last year.
"This is a positive trend. We have two girls in the top 10 this year," HC Gupta, organising chairman, JEE (Advanced) 2013, said.
"I would like to study computer science at either IIT-Bombay or IIT-Delhi," Laddha told HT.
Madhuri said she was very happy to see girls performing well.
"I used to study for 12-14 hours," Madhuri, who scored 97.9% in her boards, said.
Talking to HT, Reddy, who wants to become a robotics engineer, said he was happy to note that two girls have secured a place in the top 10.
While 21,110 candidates qualified in the exam, 14,336 have actually been called in for counselling. The filling of courses is scheduled from June 24-30. The first round of seat allotment is expected to be announced on July 4.
Nearly 1,15,000 candidates appeared for the JEE (Advanced) exam for 16 IITs and the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, on June 2.
This year, selection was a two-stage process - IIT (Main) and IIT (Advanced). Aspirants have to be in the top 20 percentile of their boards to finally get admission in an IIT.