Five IITs consider fee waive for female students

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Five Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)- Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai, Ropar and Mandi are considering a fee waive to female students to improve the gender diversity ratio in the nation’s skimmed engineering institutes.

Taking a lead, IIT Mandi has approved of fee waive earlier this week, and adding to it, is going to provide Rs 1,000 scholarship to all female students beginning this year. This will also cover the existing students as well, provided they pass the semester.

“Almost all our existing 30 women students in the B. Tech programme qualify for the fee waiver and scholarship this year, starting from this semester,” said IIT Mandi director Timothy A Gonsalves. Of 500 B. Tech students at Mandi, 30 are female.

In 2016, only 830 of the qualified 2,200 joined filled the IIT seats. The ratio of 830 being held by women against the total 10,500 seats occupied is worrisome.

According to an internal study conducted by IIT Delhi, women fare better given an equal opportunity within the campus —they consistently outperformed males by about 1 grade point on average, despite lower JEE/JEE (Advanced) ranks in the 13 years to 2015.

“It is the Indian mindset to invest heavily on sons’ education. Women do not get a level playing field when it comes to coaching and even funding for engineering at IITs,” said Ravinder Kaur, an IIT Delhi faculty member who was part of the study.

For general category, the fee for an undergraduate student is 8-10 lakh for the entire programme.

The schools in Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai and Ropar are also in favour of fee exemptions for women students. “We will be looking at waiving the fee for female candidates from next year,” IIT Ropar director Sarit K Das told ET. Das added that improving diversity is an urgent task.

“This recommendation has been accepted in principle but the financial and legal viability of this recommendation is currently being looked into,” an IIT Council member said.