CHENNAI: All their inefficiencies aside, engineering colleges in the State are providing some much needed inclusion in higher education. At least that is what the figures have to say. The number of girls from Scheduled Castes in engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu has increased 4.45 times from what it was eight years ago.
Girls from Scheduled Caste communities have also overtaken their counterparts in the Open Category as far as admissions are concerned.
As per the statistics put out by the Directorate of Technical Education, the number of girl students in the Scheduled Caste category was a mere 2,361 in 2006-07.
By 2013-14, the numbers shot up to 10,505. During this period, the number of SC girls against the number of girls in Open Category reversed. While in 2006-07 the number of girls in Open Category was 4,498, about double their SC counterparts, by 2013-14 the number of OC girls was 6,535, a little over half that of the SC girls.
Even in sought after engineering institutions such as Anna University’s constituent colleges, girls in SC category have overtaken those in OC.
While there were 184 female students from the OC category in 2013-14, the number of SC girls in these colleges was 577.
In the same period there has been an increase in the overall enrollment in engineering colleges. While admissions have gone up 4.4 times in the case of SC girls, the overall enrollment increase is only 2.5 times.
Even though boys in SC category outnumber the girls, the rate of increase in their numbers is lower. In 2013-14, there were 18,988 SC boys in engineering colleges.
Educationists said the rise could be attributed to increasing awareness among young Dalit girls. “In one way this can be seen as a reaction to the kind of oppression that they face. There is increasing awareness that education is one way for them to come out of their situation,” said Amritha Lenin, assistant professor at Loyola College.