Government plans coaching programme for girl students
The programme will have four main components – subject training, meeting role models, cultural training for parents, and fellowships to cover the cost.Updated: Sep 16, 2019, 07:17 IST
With the aim to encourage more girls to opt for engineering, maths and physics in higher studies, the Government has planned a coaching programme for Class IX to XII girls.
The Department of Science and Technology (DST)-run programme will be called Vigyan Jyoti. “There is a perception that certain fields like engineering, maths, and physics are for men, and even at top institutes like the IITs, women are greatly under-represented in these areas. This programme will be open for 50,000 girls from across the country,” said DST secretary Prof Ashutosh Sharma.
“It will be voluntary and only for girls who wish to pursue sciences but lack the kind of support needed to get into the best colleges,” he said.
“Coaching centres have been around for years, but there hasn’t been a significant change in the proportion of women in these fields of science. We hope to change that with this holistic approach,” he said.
The programme will have four main components – subject training, meeting role models, cultural training for parents, and fellowships to cover the cost.
Apart from professors from IITs, IISER, and other prime science institutes, top teachers will train selected students from their district.
In the residential component of the training, selected students will spend around two weeks during their summer vacations in top scientific institutions where they will be able to train under scientists and work in the laboratories. Women scientists from top scientific institutes will also interact with the girls.
“It is also important to ensure that a girl’s family is sensitised and is supportive of her decision to pursue science. For this, we will hold seminars for parents, teachers, and others to remove the perception that these fields are for men,” said Prof Sharma.
The selected girls will also receive monetary support for the entire duration of the training.
“Parents shouldn’t feel that they have to spend extra for these classes or for their ward’s travel. The fellowship will cover these costs. Selected girls will receive coaching and support till they finish school,” he said.
The government has already conducted a pilot project to study the camp-like residential programme at 15 top science institutes.
According to government data, women comprised just 9.15% in IITs in 2017.“The main reason why there are fewer women in these institutes is the perception that engineering and science are for boys, so, many women don’t even try. Helping in changing this perception will go a long way in changing the trend. Also, providing this kind of a learning opportunity for free will benefit the underprivileged,” said Professor Soumitro Banerjee, professor at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata.