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New IITs: Women’s Presence Rises, Foreign Student Numbers Drop

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By Nidhi Agarwal
5 Mar'22  5 min read
New IITs:  Women’s Presence Rises, Foreign Student Numbers Drop
Synopsis

Legally-mandated reservation policies ensure that the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have students from marginalised backgrounds but how have the 10 second-generation IITs to be ranked in NIRF 2021 done on diversity? Do they teach a large number of women or have many international students enrolled?  

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New IITs:  Women’s Presence Rises, Foreign Student Numbers Drop
Synopsis

Legally-mandated reservation policies ensure that the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have students from marginalised backgrounds but how have the 10 second-generation IITs to be ranked in NIRF 2021 done on diversity? Do they teach a large number of women or have many international students enrolled?  

Following a joint decision to introduce 20 percent supernumerary seats for women in 2017, the representation of women in the student population of the new Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) has risen. An analysis of the latest data shows that their presence grew from 8.6 percent in 2015-16 to 13.02 percent in 2019-20.

Enrollment data shared for ranking by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF 2021) also includes the information on the number of students from historically-marginalised backgrounds such as the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC); those from the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS); and within these groups, persons with disabilities (PWD). As central institutions, the reservation policy for these groups applies to all IITs. The seat quotas – 15 percent for SC, 7.5 percent for ST, 27 percent for OBC, and 10 percent for EWS. The quotas determine the composition to a large extent.

Analysis of NIRF data also shows the level of participation of international students in the 10 members of the second generation of IITs who have participated in the NIRF ranking 2021. These were all established around 2008 and include IIT Ropar in Punjab; IIT Bhubaneswar, Odisha; IIT Gandhinagar, Gujarat; IIT Hyderabad, Telangana; IIT Jodhpur, Rajasthan; IIT Patna, Bihar; IIT Mandi, Himachal Pradesh; IIT-Banaras Hindu University (IIT-BHU) Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh; and IIT-Indian School of Mines (IIT-ISM) Dhanbad, Jharkhand.

The remaining six IITs were founded in 2015 and 2016, are yet to participate in the NIRF and have been excluded from this analysis. These are IIT Palakkad, Kerala; IIT Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh; IIT Bhilai, Chhattisgarh; IIT Dharwad, Karnataka; IIT Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir; and IIT Goa. The latest data available on NIRF is for the batch graduating in 2019-20.

Also Read | Top NITs: Women’s Presence In The Best NITs Declined Over 5 Years

IIT Gender Ratio

Over the five years, the presence of women students in the 10 new IITs has risen, both in percentage and absolute numbers.

However, within this group, numbers and proportions varied and fluctuated before 2019-20.

IIT Hyderabad had more than 16 percent female students for most years and also the highest percentage of female students among all the new IITs. But in 2017-19, IIT Patna had only 36 female students out of a total of 783.

In terms of numbers, IIT BHU and IIT-ISM Dhanbad had the maximum number of female students. While these were converted into IITs recently – which is why they have been included here – as institutions, they are some of the oldest engineering colleges in the country, predating even the oldest IIT. Their student strength has also been high.

New IITs Gender Ratio: Female students in the IITs over the past five yearsSecond Generation IITs: Presence Of Women

New IITs: Inside, Outside State

No pattern emerges from the changes in the percentage of students enrolling from within the state – unlike the National Institutes of Technology (NIT), IITs do not reserve seats for the home state. But for a particular institute, the percentage more or less remained the same, except in the case of IIT Patna where the percentage of students from within Bihar rose by close to 10 percentage points.

The table below shows the percentage based on the total enrollment in all four years of the undergraduate programmes (BTech) in a particular academic year.

IIT: Students From Within State (In %)

Institute

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

IIT Ropar

8.1

7.8

7.3

7.2

7.4

IIT Bhubaneswar

3.5

3.5

4

4

4.1

IIT Gandhinagar

18

11.1

13.8

15.7

17.8

IIT Hyderabad

50.9

48.1

39.6

41

40.5

IIT Jodhpur

36.1

32.3

24.6

25.5

23.8

IIT Patna

12.9

15.1

16.2

17.3

22.8

IIT Indore

15.2

15.7

16.1

16

16

IIT Mandi

1.5

1.8

1.9

1.6

1.6

IIT (BHU) Varanasi

25.4

24.4

25.1

24.1

25.5

IIT (ISM) Dhanbad

11.3

9.5

9.7

9

9.4


IIT: SC, ST, OBC, EWS Quotas

Some level of diversity in the IITs is guaranteed by the legally-mandated reservation policy. The 10 percent EWS quota was introduced in early 2019 but implemented in the IITs in phases. Therefore, the 2019-2020 data will reflect the presence of EWS quota only in the first-year students of all undergraduates enrolled in that year. However, like with the NITs, that is not the only issue with the EWS statistics.

The new quota was for upper-caste candidates with an annual family income of less than Rs 8 lakh. It is not clear from available documents how the NIRF or the IITs were defining “EWS” before 2019 although they have furnished numbers for it since NIRF 2016.

The absolute numbers submitted by the institutes for ranking suggest that the proportion of students from economically backward backgrounds has been declining in some IITs since the quota was introduced. In some – IIT Patna, IIT Mandi, IIT-ISM Dhanbad – the percentage of EWS students has fluctuated wildly. Considering that the composition of a single batch of students remains more-or-less stable for the four years the programme lasts, and that drastic changes to the student community as a whole can occur only when one batch graduates and another joins, it is difficult to see how the representation of EWS students can drop by over 19 percentage points in a single year (IIT Jodhpur) or rise by over 21 percentage points (IIT Bhubaneswar).

However, the percentage representation, based on the absolute numbers in the NIRF document, is given below.

IIT: Economically Backward Students (In %)

Institute

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

IIT Ropar

19.7

18.78

19.51

27.43

15.28

IIT Bhubaneswar

28.5

25.7

12.9

34.04

16.3

IIT Gandhinagar

9.96

7.25

18.44

5.44

11.49

IIT Hyderabad

14.22

6.45

6.81

7.79

7.87

IIT Jodhpur

11.21

25.28

32.18

12.74

13.58

IIT Patna

13

38.04

15.2

14.45

15.02

IIT Indore

12.42

16.31

6.91

5.42

14.33

IIT Mandi

31.01

0

2.24

9.27

9.4

IIT (BHU) Varanasi

4.8

6.99

18.43

23.38

20.97

IIT (ISM) Dhanbad

37.99

48.08

4.01

15.07

9.2


Quotas for SC, ST and OBC add up to 49.5 percent of seats. Here, most of the IITs have done better than NITs, with the representation of these groups crossing 50 percent in several years.

In the case of IIT Jodhpur and IIT-BHU Varanasi, the 2016-17 data yields a 1.7 percent and 86.05 percent representation for socially backward groups. For the same reason explained above for EWS, neither of these figures is entirely plausible.

IITs: SC, ST, OBC Quotas

Name

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

IIT Ropar

51.61

50.61

50.57

50.7

50.95

IIT Bhubaneswar

52.5

51.84

51.45

49.94

51.01

IIT Gandhinagar

50.56

50.93

50.78

51.5

50.99

IIT Hyderabad

50.56

50.29

50.62

50.39

50.48

IIT Jodhpur

49.47

1.7

51.18

49.03

49.94

IIT Patna

50.97

50.67

51.21

48.34

48.19

IIT Indore

49.25

45.84

50.41

50.68

50.76

IIT Mandi

50.63

50.59

50.56

50.73

50.27

IIT (BHU) Varanasi

49.91

86.05

51.5

50.88

45

IIT (ISM) Dhanbad

46.1

47.44

49.13

50.78

50.74

Also Read | 76.8% IIT, 85.5% NIT Students Joined JEE Coaching In Class 11 Or Later: Survey

No Foreign Students

In 2019-20, only nine foreign students were enrolled in the new IIT, all of them in IIT Hyderabad. None of the others had any international students.

IIT-ISM Dhanbad had 50 foreign students in 2015-16, and 58 in 2016-17. Foreign students have decreased even among the top five NITs over the last five years.

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