Providing an answer to the question raised by V. Sivadasan, a CPIM leader and an MP from Kerala regarding the number of undergraduate dropouts at technical institutions funded by the Union, Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told the Rajya Sabha that almost 63% of the undergrad students who dropped out from the top seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) over the last five years are from the reserved categories, The Hindu reported.
Higher educational institutes particularly technical institutes in India have been questioned time and again for maintaining caste-based hierarchies and being spaces of manifestations of caste-based discrimination against students and teachers coming from marginalized caste communities.
The MP has also asked about the difference across social categories with respect to the dropout rates and the measures put in place to address it.
Pradhan responded and listed “fee reductions, institute scholarships, priority access to national-level scholarships to aid students with poor financial backgrounds to pursue their education” as some measures taken by the Union government to prevent further dropouts of students.
The numbers are representative of the reality of these elite institutions where people coming from marginalised caste backgrounds face disproportionate disadvantages. Several students from SC/ST and OBC backgrounds have spoken about the existing caste bias in these institutions where people from oppressive castes occupy the majority of positions of power.
In past, students and even faculty members from reserved categories have brought to the front the hostile and casteist environment in these technical colleges where students have to undergo caste-based shaming by people.
According to the data provided by the Education Ministry, with 79 students leaving the institute, the highest number of dropouts in the last five years is in IIT Kharagpur in which reserved categories students form more than 60%.
In IIT Delhi, 76% of its dropouts are from the reserved categories of which half of the dropouts are from SC/ST communities.