Two out of every three students who graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) in 2014 were from small cities, towns and villages, a recent survey revealed.
The survey by Insight, the student media body at IIT-B, checked the hometowns of 260 students from the graduating batch of 2014 and found students from metros were 33.7% of the batch, or one of every three students.
While students from smaller cities topped the demographic constitution of the batch of 2014, when it comes to small towns
and villages, the numbers stand at 21.7% and 5.8% respectively.
Since this is a first-of-its kind survey by the students, there is no comparative data to find out if there has been an increase or decrease in the intake of students from smaller cities or towns. Academicians said IIT-B has, for some time, done well in getting students from small cities and towns.
“Back in the 1980s, when good education was limited only to the urban areas, we saw a large difference in demographics. Now, with more schools adopting a competitive syllabus and curriculum, clearing the entrance test has become possible for students from rural areas as well,” said Urjit Yajnik, dean of student affairs, IIT-B.
The institute has seen many students from the north-east — places like Orissa, Assam and Bihar, Yajnik said.
Some education experts, however, have a different take on the numbers.
A former dean of the institute, on condition of anonymity said, “The coveted Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have often been considered out of reach for folk from small cities and towns, with the urban upper middle class producing IITians by the dozen. While small cities seem to have caught up, towns and villages are still way off the mark,” he said.
A study by Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, also showed students from high income families and urban areas bag most of the IIT seats. In fact, among those who had registered, students from the higher income group have a success rate that is four times higher than those from the lower income group.
“The survey of the outgoing seniors yielded a lot of information. There may be a difference of opinion on the findings, but the results have given us an insight into the various aspects of their lives during their stay here. We will float a similar survey for the current graduating batch as well, “said Niranjan Thakurdesai, chief editor of Insight.
Students from small towns also seem to take time to settle into the IIT-B campus. A third-year metallurgy student from Tirupati, who landed an internship with a leading manufacturing company in Singapore, said it was difficult to get used to the ways of a big city and an elite institute like IIT-B. “But hostel life and exposure to students from all over the country helped me come out of my shell,” he said.