Concerned by the slump in number of girl students entering the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the Joint Admission Board has set up a committee to explore ways to increase their enrolment.
Sources said the issue was discussed at length during a meeting of the board, which conducts the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Advanced, on Sunday. A sub-committee under the chairmanship of professor Timothy Gonsalves was formed to find ways to rectify the situation in the premier engineering institutes.
It was learnt that there has been a 2% dip in the number of girls who cleared the JEE-Advanced this year, as compared to the previous one. While over 1,000 cracked the examination (roughly 10% of the total 10,000 seats) in 2015, only 840 female students (coming up to 8%) made it to the institutes in 2016-17. As many as 10,500 students landed B Tech seats at 23 IITs across the country this time.
“Despite 50% of the successful students claiming that they used self-study methods to crack the examination, it is common knowledge that almost every IIT student comes from coaching institutions in Kota and other places. Most parents are unwilling to enroll their girls in coaching institutes because it would involve leaving home and staying in difficult circumstances. This is probably why they don’t perform as well as male students in JEE Advanced,” said an academic expert. None of the girls who were selected this year made it to the top 100 either. Riya Singh, the topper among female students this year, got a comparatively low all-India rank of 133.
Sources said the number of girls registering for the joint entrance examination had been rising steadily until the two-tier exam system of JEE Main and Advanced was introduced in 2012. The institutes have now reduced the fees for female candidates in an attempt to resolve the gender imbalance, an IIT director said.