Hyderabad: With an emphasis on ensuring diversity in campus, International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad (IIITH) has introduced new channels of admission into its single and dual degree programmes for the academic year 2020-21. As part of this, 25 percent of total number of JEE seats have been earmarked as a Diversity Channel for girls.
Commenting on the JEE exam and the ranking system itself, Prof. P.J. Narayanan, Director of IIITH, says,” Any institute in our view should have multiple ways of identifying talent and bringing in students. In our country, since we cannot have subjective ways of identifying, we rely on rankings. The ability to do well in exams, on-campus and do well in life have no correlation. Hence there is a need to have multiple types of ‘catchment’ to rank students in their own streams independently.”
The last four years of IIITH witnessed an alarming decline in the ratio of women enrolment. The new system is intended to address this lacuna.
“There could be many reasons with one of them being the launch of many more IITs. With practically one in every state, there are more than ample engineering seats available now. From informal conversations with parents, we also found that parents (of girls particularly) prefer proximity to their home while choosing a place of study. So when there are options either close to or in their own home state, they would not wish to venture out. Plus, in addition to an increase in the total number of seats, the introduction of supernumerary seats by IITs has diverted potential female candidates elsewhere,” says Prof. Jayanthi Sivaswamy, Dean (Academics).
An analysis of female enrollments to the institute in the early years revealed a higher acceptance rate by applicants from AP/neighbouring states when offered a seat, reinforcing the proximity factor as being a compelling one. Interestingly, it looks like this factor continues to prevail since the last four years. In 2019, only four girls joined B. Tech programme through the JEE Mains and all were from the home or neighbouring states.
Emphasizing that diversity scheme is unlike a reservation or a quota system in the regular sense, Prof. Narayanan says that these seats are kept apart for female candidates, but girls are not eligible for the regular seats unless the diversity channel seats are all filled up.
For example, if there are 100 seats and 25 girls in the first 100 IIITH ranks, then the diversity channel will be filled up, opening up the regular channel seats to everyone.
“In theory, it could lead to more than 25 per cent of total student intake being women. The cut-off rank under this scheme is the same as in the open quota. So in that sense, this works differently from traditional reservations,” clarifies the Director.
Meanwhile, to be eligible for this channel, students need to be in the top 1 percentile of JEE Mains (99 percentile or higher).