Striving Towards the Betterment of Women Education with Emphasis on STEM Education: The Success Story of Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women
About the University: Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women (IGDTUW) is the first technical university in South Asia exclusively for women. The objective of the university is to foster industry-relevant research and innovation, with a motive to empower the women of our country through value-based higher education, making them employable, self-reliant, and responsible citizens with a concern for the environment and society. The university has won various accolades for its exceptional contribution to the field of technical education. Recently, it was granted the “university of the year” award (1-10 years) by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and secured 2nd rank (out of more than 650 universities) in the category of higher education institutions, exclusively for women, in the award ceremony of Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) Rankings 2020.
IGDTUW’s Efforts Towards Advancing Women’s Education
The university understands that the true aim of education is to nurture capable youth who are not only able to resolve their personal challenges, but also contribute towards making their communities, their nation, and human society a better place. To achieve this, the energies of the youth must be channelised to experience and engage with the reality around them, to deepen the bonds of mutual connections with people in their ecosystem.
Through various initiatives, the university makes continuous and sincere efforts to strengthen the link and provide last-mile connectivity between school education and higher education. The university is constantly striving to mentor and motivate girl students for a better transition from school education to higher education to address the issue of drop-out rates in higher education.
Emphasis on STEM Education for Women
In the rich history of 23 years, the university has initiated and led multiple programmes for the benefit and empowerment of women. Apart from providing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education to students during their graduation, the university is continuously involved in mentoring and motivating them towards pursuing STEM education during their school time itself. This has been done through collaboration with various student societies like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), IEEE Women in Engineering (IEEE WIE), Lean In, and Enactus.
The university’s intention to foster technological innovation for the benefit of humanity was recognised by the Department of Science & Technology and they were granted a pilot project titled “Vigyan Jyoti” that aimed to promote STEM education among women candidates and improve the retention ratio of women in STEM-related fields. The course curriculum allowed a thorough understanding of basic knowledge and a gradual transition from theoretical to practical know-how. The stepwise work plan helped students to easily switch from physics to the electronics world. Eventually, they were able to make robots by the end of the three-week training programme.
The continuous efforts of IGDTUW to promote STEM education for women led to the university’s involvement in the launch of a key initiative by the Government of Delhi titled “Education Mentoring Programme (EMP)”.
The EMP is proving to be a win-win situation for the mentors (students at the college level) and the mentees (students at school). On one hand, students are receiving support and guidance to take up flourishing careers in STEM fields, while on the other hand, students at the college level are getting a deeper understanding of how they can become the protagonist of positive change in society. Through this initiative, the university has started harnessing empathy and a sense of compassion among its students to work for the empowerment of women in the state of Delhi. Despite all the challenges and initial hurdles, EMP is picking up momentum and will soon be turning the vision of the program into reality. With the involvement of 25 mentor leaders and more than 200 mentors, over 1000 students are being benefitted from this program.
During this EMP journey, a dialogue between the mentor and mentee created rich experiences of “empathy” among mentoring students. The perceptive capabilities of involved faculties and mentor students got nurtured when they learned about the lives, circumstances, and the reality of the other person in general.
Striving to Provide Excellent Placement Opportunities
In addition to the university’s effort to making the transition from school to college education easier, the institution is also trying to provide excellent placement opportunities to its students. In the year 2019-2020, several students got placed in renowned national and multinational organisations like Google, Microsoft, Uber, Intuit, Goldman Sachs, etc. Even during the pandemic, the university has been successful in facilitating 20 Full time and 40 summer internships for its students (for the year 2021) from Microsoft India Development Centre (IDC). Highly-paid placement offers to its students during the pandemic condition speaks volumes about the efforts of the university’s students and faculty members.
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