All IITs must now increase the number of admissions so that they have at least 14 per cent girls in every new batch starting from 2018. As many as 23 campuses, including the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, will have to follow this directive. The HRD plans to increase female representation at the top engineering colleges to 20 per cent by 2026.

“The seats will be supernumerary,” explained an official. “The IITs can increase the number of seats in a way that girls form a 14% chunk of the total admissions in 2018 without reducing the number of boys who were admitted in 2017,” he said

Each institute is aware of the number of seats it has to increase to achieve this result. For example, IIT Kharagpur will increase its seats by 80, and its total admissions to 1,421 students. This means that in total, admissions across IITs in 2018 will be 11,509, up from 10,988.

The IITs will also have to accommodate for the increasing number of women students by increasing the number of hostel berths.

A sub-committee has been formed to draw up a mechanism to implement the new selection criteria. However, directors of IITs are still not convinced with the proposal.

The 14 per cent student body will be a huge jump from the 9.1 per cent in 2017. The number of women admitted every year varies.

The IITs will even identify talented girls from Std 8 and onwards and coach them for the admissions process. Students will be invited on campus to get a feel of what it feels like to study there

“The idea is to identify some of the more promising students and then get them hooked on the idea of studying in an IIT. The initiative is already on track,” a faculty member said.

Kudos to the initiative which will hopefully result in many more women entering the STEM fields!

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