A total of 13,626 students belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Other Backward Classes (OBC) have discontinued their education in central universities, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) over the last five years, as per information provided by the Minister of State for Education, Subhas Sarkar, in a written response to Lok Sabha today.
Responding to queries about whether the government has conducted any comprehensive study to comprehend the underlying reasons for the notable dropout rates among OBC, SC, and ST students in these Higher Education Institutions, Sarkar stated, “In the Higher Education sector, students have multiple options and they choose to migrate across institutions and from one course/programme to another in the same institution. The migration/withdrawal, if any, is mainly on account of securing seats in other departments or institutions of their choice or for personal reasons.”
Sarkar shared detailed data indicating that, over the past five years, 4,596 OBC candidates, 2,424 SC candidates, and 2,622 ST candidates have discontinued their education in Central Universities. Additionally, 2,066 OBC candidates, 1,068 SC candidates, and 408 ST candidates dropped out of IITs, while 163 OBC candidates, 188 SC candidates, and 91 ST candidates discontinued their education at IIMs during the same period.
Highlighting government initiatives to address this issue, Sarkar mentioned steps such as fee reduction, the establishment of additional institutes, scholarship programs, and priority access to national-level scholarships for students with limited financial means. Various schemes, such as the ‘waiver of tuition fees in IITs’ and the provision of national scholarships under the Central Sector Scheme, are specifically aimed at supporting the welfare of SC/ST students.
In order to proactively address any challenges faced by SC/ST students, educational institutes have established mechanisms like SC/ST students’ cells, Equal Opportunity Cell, Student Grievance Cell, Student Grievance Committee, Students Social Club, Liaison officers, Liaison Committee, and more. Additionally, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has consistently issued directives to promote equity and fraternity among students. The government remains committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for all students pursuing higher education.