Number of girls admitted to IITs decreasing; Govt proposes tie-break quota; fraternity reacts Featured

Number of girls in IITs Number of girls in IITs

IIT_girls_1The percentage of girls admitted each year to the Indian Institutes of Technology has been falling at an appalling rate. In 2012 too, the number of girls joining the IITs has been dismal compared to the number of boys. The IITs have been trying various tricks and things to increase the numbers but in vain. So what could possibly be the reasons? Surya Ragunaathan talks to the current JEE convener and some other important people.

The Joint Entrance Exam 2012 report states that the percentage of girls admitted to the Indian Institutes of Technology this year has been 9.7 percent compared the last year's 9.9 percent. The female candidates that registered with JEE were around 33 percent of the total number of candidates this year. In the year 2010, a total of 10.2 percent had gotten into the IITs.

These figures show how drastically the numbers have been falling over the years.

"The reduction of application fee has presumably led to a 10 percent point increase in female registrations," the JEE 2012 report says. However, this increase reflected only a marginal increase in the percentage of female candidates qualified to move to the next level, it said.

Girls have secured lower ranks, the report said. This year's female topper secured an all-India rank of 21.

Girls routinely post better pass percentages in Class 10 and 12 exams, but seem unable to translate that success in JEE.

Professor Gautam Barua, Director, IIT Guwahati said, "It's difficult to say why. One theory is that girls are not sent for outstation coaching."

This year, the IIT Indore batch has the best female ratio, with 18 percent of total admissions going to girls. At IIT Bombay, it is 10 percent.

One man who has analyzed gender and exams is Professor Vijay Singh from Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mankhurd. Says he, "I have spoken to several parents and I have always felt that parents are hesitant to send girls to cities with better facilities for exam preparation."

Speaking to Gyancentral, Professor PC Gupta, Convener, JEE 2013 says, "It is mainly because parents are hesitant sending girl children to better coaching classes to other cities and places. They are scared of her security. If I was a parent and I had a son, I would send him. If I have a daughter, I would think twice. This is because I am scared for her security. And this happens especially in the north."

"For admissions into the IITs what is important is to score well in JEE. And to crack JEE, the most important thing is private coaching. If that itself if denied to girls, then obviously cracking JEE and eventually getting into one of the IITs becomes difficult."

But there have been talks recently that the IITs might have to choose girls over boys in case of a tie in scores at the JEE levels. This may be one of the tricks being used by the HRD ministry to get more girls on campus.

Girls may soon have an easier path into the male-dominated Indian Institutes of Technology under a bold but potentially controversial plan to pick them over boys if they are tied in the entrance test.

The human resource development (HRD) ministry has asked the IIT Joint Admission Board (JAB) – the highest admission-related body of the institutes – to consider the plan for the 2013 two-tiered entrance test, top government officials have confirmed to HT.

The proposal was drafted by panel set up by the HRD ministry under former atomic energy chief Anil Kakodkar to create a blueprint for reforms at the IITs. It aims to correct a severe gender imbalance at the premier engineering institutes.

But much the caste-based quota system, this one too is a controversial one where it puts girls and boys who have scored the same marks and then picks based on gender, it being girls in this case.
Though the IITs have already released the prospectus – and the tiebreaker formula for admissions – for the 2013 entrance test, the JAB can issue a correction detailing the new policy.
Speaking to Gyancentral, one of the members of JAB said, "There's no problem in doing that because there's enough time left for the 2013 test and it will not bring any change in the method of preparation, etc. for the test. We are in the process of analyzing all the implications in this plan."

Is this true? Is this how the tie-breaks are really going to be done? Isn't this like an artificial crutch given to girls?

Says Professor Gupta, JEE 2013 convener, "We have not yet got any such information. The HRD has proposed to JAB and they are yet to come out with conclusions. But I don't see any such thing happening this year. Yes it is unfair and rather senseless to do that."

What is the method used currently by the IITs for tie-breaks?

"Currently, we use a tiebreak formula that compares subject scores of students with the same overall scores. Physics, chemistry and math are tested in the entrance examination. Scores in the subject that students found the hardest that year, reflected in the lowest average performance among the three subjects – are compared first. So, if two students the same total marks, but if one has got more in the subject that witnessed the poorest performance overall from all test-takers, the he is ranked ahead. If students who received the same overall score also perform equally in the toughest subject, their scores in the next toughest subject are compared. We would ideally want to continue to do this."

Well, the HRD ministry seems to be bent upon interfering with the sanely rules of the education system of this country. We do hope the IIT Professors take it upon themselves to not allow such absurdities in the name of "affirmative action" to happen to the premier engineering institutes.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 15:46

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