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Over 13,500 SC, ST, And OBC Students Dropped Out Of Central Universities, IITs, IIMs In Past 5 Years: Education Minister

As many as 13,626 Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Other Backward Class (OBC) students have dropped out of central universities, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in the last five years, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.

Students protest outside IIT Bombay seeking justice for Darshan Solanki
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As many as 13,626 Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Other Backward Class (OBC) students have dropped out of central universities, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in the last five years, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.

The data was submitted in response to a question by BSP member in Lok Sabha Ritesh Pandey on whether the government had conducted any assessment of the total number of students who had dropped out of Central Universities, IITs, IIMs and National Law Universities during the last five years and the causes behind the high dropout rates. 

SC, ST, OBC students' dropouts

As many as 4,596 OBC students, 2,424 SC and 2,622 ST students have dropped out of Central Universities in the past five years. During the same time period, as many as 2,066 OBC students, 1,068 SC and 408 ST students dropped out of IITs and 163 OBC, 188 SC and 91 ST students dropped out of IIMs.

However, no such data is available for National Law Universities. “NLUs have been established under the Acts enacted by the respective state legislatures and as such they are the state universities. No such data on drop out students of NLUs is maintained by the Central Government,” Union minister of state for education minister Subhas Sarkar informed the Parliament. 

Explaining the possible reasons behind the high dropout rates, Sarkar said that students in the higher education sector have multiple options and they choose to migrate across institutions and from one course or programme to another in the same institution. "The migration/withdrawal if any, is mainly on account of securing seat by the students in other departments or institutions of their choice or on any personal ground," he said.

Outlook has previously reported on how caste discrimination plagues premier educational institutions like the IITs. The cases of Darshan Solanki, an 18-year-old Dalit student at IIT Bombay who died after allegedly facing caste-based abuse in the campus and Rohith Vemula, show the extent of the prevalence of caste-based discrimination on campuses.

Responding to a query on what the government was doing about the issue, Sarkar said that the government had taken various steps like fee reduction, establishment of more institutes, scholarship, priority access to national level scholarships to aid the students with poor financial backgrounds to pursue their education.

Institutes have also set up grievance redressal committees such as SC/ST students’ cells, equal opportunity cells, student grievance cells, student grievance committees, students social clubs, liaison officers and liaison committees to address issues of SC, ST, OBC students, Sarkar added.

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