The number of girls who got into the Indian Institutes of Technology remained dismal this year, reveals the Joint Entrance Exam 2012 report, released last month. This, despite the IITs waiving the registration fee for girls, which saw a spike in the number of girls registering for the entrance exam.

This year, the percentage of girls offered admissions dropped to 9.7% from last year’s 9.9%, though female candidates comprised 33% of the total JEE registrations compared to 23% in 2011. In 2010, 10.2% of the candidates who got in were girls.

“The reduction of application fees has presumably led to a 10% point increase in female registrations,” the report noted. Disconcertingly, this increase reflected only a marginal increase in the percentage of female candidates qualified to move to the next level, it said.

Girls have secured lower ranks, the report said. This year’s female topper secured an all-India rank of 21.

Girls routinely post better pass percentages in Class 12 exams, but seem unable to translate that success in the JEE. “It’s difficult to say why. One theory is that girls are not sent for outstation coaching,” said Gautam Barua, director of IIT Guwahati.

This year, the IIT Indore batch has the best female ratio, with 18% of total admissions going to girls. At IIT Bombay, it is 10%.

“Perhaps parents are hesitant to send girls to cities with better facilities for exam preparation,” said Vijay Singh, professor, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mankhurd, who has analysed gender and exam performance.