President Shri Ram Nath Kovind has stressed on need of more participation of girl students in higher education particularly in the stream of science and technology so that workforce of our country can rise to fair and acceptable levels in coming decades. Shri Kovind was addressing the 64th Convocation of IIT, Kharagpur, West Bengal today. He expressed concern about the comparatively less number of girl students in IIT, Kharagpur. In 2017, above 1 lakh 60 thousand candidates appeared for the IIT Joint Entrance Examination, among them only 30,000 were girls. In undergraduate class of IIT, 10,878 students got admission, out of them only 995 were girls. After that 11,653 students were enrolled among which only 1,925 were girls which is a little above 16 per cent which is not acceptable at all, President opined.
The President said, there should be a national priority and the IIT community must take in the lead. Without meeting this challenge and without providing the necessary opportunities for our girl child and young women, the development of Indian society can never be possible. He told, IIT, Kharagpur is located in a State that has historically produced illustrious women achievers who have contributed in nation building process and development of our society. In this connection he gave example of West Bengal Chief Minister Smt. Mamata Banerjee who was also sharing the dais with him at Kharagpur IIT.
Shri Kovind reiterated that among all IITs, IIT, Kharagpur has the largest percentage of women in leadership roles which can inspire junior girl students. He said, the institute has created 113 super-numerary seats for girl students in the undergraduate programme. President mentioned the support of Infosys Foundation that to fund women researchers who are to attend major international conferences. This is a good step but a long term process, he mentioned.
The President today unveiled the plaque of a Girls’ hostel and a guest house in the name of former President of India Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.
The other dignitaries present in the occasion were Governor of West Bengal Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi and the Chief Minister of West Bengal Smt. Mamata Bandyopadhyay.