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  Metros   Kolkata  21 Jul 2018  ‘No. of female students in IITs distressingly low’

‘No. of female students in IITs distressingly low’

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jul 21, 2018, 6:29 am IST
Updated : Jul 21, 2018, 6:29 am IST

The President observed, “This cannot go on. We need to do something about these numbers.

President Ram Nath Kovind with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee during the 64th Annual Convocation of IIT Kharagpur in West Midnapore district on Friday. (Photo: PTI)
 President Ram Nath Kovind with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee during the 64th Annual Convocation of IIT Kharagpur in West Midnapore district on Friday. (Photo: PTI)

Kolkata: Expressing his concern over “distressingly low” figure in girl students’ admissions in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday called for their larger enrollment in the IITs.

He also sought a way out to increase the girl students’ admissions. Mr Kovind also tried woo chief minister Mamata Banerjee, present at the event along with governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, by describing her as ‘one of the illustrious women achievers’ close on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s salvo to her and her government in the same district: West Midnapore.

 

Addressing the 64th annual convocation of IIT Kharagpur the President said, “The IIT system has given every Indian many moments of happiness and pride. Yet there is one issue that continues to puzzle and concern me. When one considers board examinations at the secondary level, girls do very well. They often outscore boys. In colleges and universities that I visit across the country, in my capacity as President of India, I find that girl students tend to win more medals and awards than their male counterparts. Yet, when it comes to IITs, the intake of girl students is distressingly low.”

Armed with statistics Mr Kovind elaborated, “In 2017, about 1,60,000 candidates appeared for the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced). Only some 30,000 were girls. In 2017, 10,878 students got admission into the undergraduate class of the IITs. Only 995 were girls. I have been told that 11,653 students are enrolled here at IIT Kharagpur. Only 1,925 are girls – a little over 16 per cent.”

 

The President observed, “This cannot go on. We need to do something about these numbers. The participation of women in higher education, in science and technology and in the workforce of our country has to rise to fair and acceptable levels within the coming decade. This should be a national priority, and the IIT community must take the lead. Without meeting this challenge and without providing the necessary opportunities for our girl children and our young women the development of Indian society can never be complete. This is as critical for social equality as it is for economic growth. In particular, IIT Kharagpur must act because it is located in a state that has historically produced illustrious women achievers who have contributed a great deal to nation building and to our society. We are fortunate that one of them, chief minister Mamata Banerjee, is with us today. It is always a pleasure to meet her.”

 

Mr Kovind added, “Of all the IITs, I understand IIT Kharagpur has the largest percentage of women in leadership roles. This must translate into more girl students as well. Your Institute has created 113 supernumerary seats for girl candidates in the undergraduate programme. I have also been told about a special initiative, with support from the Infosys Foundation, to fund women researchers who wish to attend major international conferences. These are good steps but a long road lies ahead of us.”

With a note of hope he underlined, “In this context, I am confident that the Savitribai Phule Girls’ Hostel – which, along with the A.P.J. Abdul Kalam International Visitors’ Guest House, is one of the two buildings for which work has formally begun today – will help draw more girl students to IIT Kharagpur.”

 

Tags: indian institute of technology, iit community, infosys