According to Education Ministry data given in response to a question in the Rajya Sabha, majority of the undergraduate dropouts at the top seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) over the last five years are from the reserved categories.
GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Issues related to Education, Government Policies and Interventions, Issues arising out of the design and implementation of the policies)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Data on Drop-outs from top institutes
- Reasons for disproportionate reserved category drop-outs
Data on Drop-outs from top institutes
- Almost 63% of the undergraduate dropouts at the top seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) over the last five years are from the reserved categories.
- Almost 40% were from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities on average, and in some institutions, the SC/ST share was as high as 72%.
- An analysis of the seven IITs that stand in the top 10 of the National Institute Ranking framework shows that the disproportionality of dropouts is starker at some institutions.
- IIT Guwahati holds the worst record, with 88% of its 25 dropouts hailing from the reserved categories.
- This indicates that those who drop out of these elite programmes disproportionately belong to the disadvantaged groups, given that only half the undergraduate intake in the IITs are from reserved categories, while about 23% are from the SC/ST communities.
Reasons for disproportionate reserved category drop-outs
- The percentage of dropouts for SC/ ST and OBC candidates is more than that of unreserved category, while their number of admissions is below unreserved category candidates.
- While this can hint at discrimination against these candidates, there are also questions against a caste-based reservation system that allows reserved category candidates with lower marks to take admission in an institute.
- Dalit and Adivasi activists have long argued that students from those communities face a higher level of pressure and discrimination at these prestigious institutions.
- Education Minister recently told the Rajya Sabha that the dropouts were “mainly on account of securing seat in other departments or institutions of students choice or on any other personal ground”.
Looking at data from 2019 (to overlook the impact of Covid-19)
- The reserved category candidates have a lower cut-off criterion in the entrance exam, but once in college, the passing marks are the same for all. This makes experts wonder if students are unable to deal with pressure over their performance. – However, it should be added that since the general category candidates drop out too, the difference in cut-offs gets mitigated during the programme.
- The reasons for dropouts can be of various types, including distractions for those who live alone for the first time, disinterest in the programme and high academic standards.
- IIT-Delhi officials have said that dropouts in case of IITs are majorly from postgraduate classes, due to students preferring lucrative jobs or academia.
- The HRD minister, also cited personal or medical issues, placement during courses and pursuing higher education abroad among other reasons behind dropouts for PG courses.
-Source: The Hindu