IIMs want more girls, non-engineering students

Directors of five IIMs from across the country Monday held a conference and felt the need to change the quantitative bias in the Common Admission Test (CAT) to draw in more students in their classrooms from diverse academic backgrounds.

Giving a wrap-up of the discussion, Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta director Sekhar Chowdhury said the issues would be dealt with seriously though it was not yet certain that the changes could take place from next year's CAT. 

"In many cases, despite efforts to get in students from other backgrounds, the number of engineering students has increased. The blame is on our admission process. We need to change how we admit students and how CAT is organised," said IIM-Lucknow director Devi Singh. 

Singh said though a large section of the faculty would not have been favourably disposed to the idea of having a greater diversity in students, "now the realisation has dawned on them and in the next few years we may see a change in the system".

IIM-Bangalore director Pankaj Chandra felt girl students found the CAT examination with its stress on mathematics a deterrent.

"That's the reason many girl students do not sit for the entrance test". 

Statistics show that about 2 lakh students take the annual CAT examination for admission to 2,000 seats in the country's ten IIMs. Of them, the percentage of engineers gaining entry into the premier B-Schools is over 90 per cent, while the percentage of female students is only 10-15 percent taking all the IIMs together.

Chowdhury said while the world has a nearly 50:50 ratio of men and women, "why cannot we have a similar or more or less equal representation in the classroom? After all, the class should represent life."

He said on the contrary, private management institutes had a 40-45 percent girl students.

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