The ministry of human resource development (MHRD) has come up with a four-pronged formula to increase the ratio of girl students in IITs from the current 8% to 20% by 2020-2021.
The plans include getting IITs to identify meritorious girls from class VIII in their respective catchment areas and coaching and counselling them as well as their parents.
The ministry also wants IITs to bring some of these students to their campuses and give them a feel of the real thing. “The idea is to identify some of the more promising students and get them hooked on to the idea of studying in an IIT,“ a faculty member privy to the developments said. “We want to catch these girls young,“ he added.
The MHRD sent out a letter to all IITs on July 28, giving details on how to motivate young girls towards an engineering career and provide them with systematic help in preparing for joint entrance examination (advanced), which students need to crack to study in IITs. Several private coaching institutes already have programmes that offer `IIT examoriented coaching' from class VII itself to get them acquainted with what to expect in the entrance tests. The MHRD has also asked IITs to leverage the IIT Professor Assisted Learning (IIT-PAL) scheme to improve the performance of girls in science subjects in schools. Students need internet connectivity or a DTH setup to hook up for this programme. “Interested girl students in schools can then watch lectures on chemistry , physics, mathematics and statistics that are recorded by IIT teachers. Lecture recordings are there for biology as well,“ an IIT-Kharagpur faculty member said.
“Often, meritorious students in villages have no idea about how to crack the JEE.We have come up across umpteen cases of families not sending girl students to enrol in IIT coaching classes. These decisions will help girl students, especially those staying in remoter areas or those coming from financially weaker sections of society,“ he added.
IIT faculty have noticed several misconceptions that, they say , may be cleared by these programmes. “Some parents think engineering as a subject or the IITs as a destination are meant more for boys. Some assume fluency in English is required to study in the country's premier technology institutes. We want to dispel all these wrong ideas,“ explained a senior IIT official.
The 51st IIT Council meeting on April 28 at IIT-Bombay deliberated on a sub-committee report and decided to increase female enrolment in B.Tech programs of IITs. The MHRD directives, officials said, was the natural outcome of those deliberations.