To improve gender imbalance, IITs to add 779 more seats exclusively for women

File photo. Photograph:( DNA )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 16, 2018, 07.44 AM (IST)

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will add 779 more seats exclusively for women applicants in the new academic session this year.

Sayantani Saha, a student from IIT Kharagpur told ANI that the decision by the institutes will help in improving the problem of gender imbalance in the IITs.

"It will help the girl students to get the privilege of higher studies in premier technological institutes. It will also tackle the issue of gender imbalance in IITs," she said.

A decision in this regard was taken last year by the IIT Council but a final number of "supernumerary seats" have been announced now. The number of seats is likely to vary each year.

Of the 779 seats, the largest chunk of 113 seats, is with IIT Kharagpur, followed by IIT-Dhanbad (95 seats), IIT-Kanpur (79), IIT-BHU (76), IIT-Roorkee (68), IIT-Delhi (59), IIT-Bombay (58) and IIT Guwahati (57).

Hoping that the initiative will help in increasing the number of girls in the IITs, IIT Kharagpur faculty member Sudeshna Sarkar said, "Over the next few years, the percentage of girls will be hiked to 20 per cent."

"Additional supernumerary seats created over and above girls who were already coming in. Seats to be decided based on the number of girls already in the system. In the coming year, the target is to go up to 14 percent girls," she added.

Earlier, a survey conducted jointly by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Stanford University revealed that there are still not enough women in Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs).

Women are under-represented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields in top engineering institutions. But surprisingly, they are well-represented in non-elite institutes. 

In a large-scale program to assess and improve the skills of engineering students in India, AICTE along with Stanford University is currently undertaking a three-phased survey in engineering institutes of the country. Based on the survey results, the Centre planned to introduce changes in technical education in India.

Currently, 9 per cent women are admitted at IIT Kharagpur and this year the seats increased to 14 per cent.