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Centre plans programme to help girl students opt for STEM education

October 14, 2019

The Centre has planned a programme to help girl students create interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) due to low percentage of women studying these subjects. It will also fund them if they get into any top institute for pursuing these underrepresented subjects. The programme known as ‘Vigyan Jyoti’ aims to tap 100 girl students in 550 districts from 2020-2025, as per officials. They also added that te students will be chosen based on their percentile.

Sanjiv Mishra, Scientist with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), who is overseeing the programme said that the initiative is likely to be launched by the end of this month. Data compiled by the DST shows that females comprised 24 per cent of the total pass-out students in STEM subjects in engineering, 22 per cent at the post graduate level, 28 per cent at M Phil and 35 per cent at the PhD level.

DST Secretary Ashutosh Sharma said that the programme would include holding science camps for the girl students in nearby IITs, NITs and national laboratories. He also added, “It will give them the experience of what it feels like being on a campus of a premiere institute in terms of culture, motivation, interaction with scientists.” The programme will cover girl students from grade 9 to 12.

Mr Sharma said there are only 10 per cent of girls in the IITs and the number has remained static over the years. “So, we need a different kind of intervention in order to boost the numbers. They (girl students) do not see the role model and leadership in these areas and all of this has to be addressed.”

The programme also has financial dimension. The girls will be given a modest financial incentive to cover their additional expense like travel to camps. “It also guarantees that if the girl gets into an underrepresented area like the IIT then they would receive a fellowship,” Mr Sharma said.

The programme would also include counselling the parents of the girl students. The programme envisages students’ interactions with top women leaders in the area of science and technology, corporate world, universities and top institute like the DRDO. This can help them gain confidence to make a mark in these areas.

Source: PTI

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