While a total of 18 lakh students from five minority communities applied for pre-matric scholarship from across the state in just a month after its announcement last year, this year only 1,15,000 students have applied so far.
Though the officials of the education department said the ongoing month of Ramadan was the reason for low numbers, education activist claimed lack of awareness and technological glitches faced by the applicants while filling online forms were the reasons responsible for the sharp decline.
The state have been funding the pre-matric scholarships for the last five years and students from minority communities such as Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist and Parsi, whose family income is less than Rs 1 lakh, are eligible to apply for the scholarship.
“We received tremendous response last year. Around 18 lakh students applied for scholarship, of which 7,88,000 became eligible. But this year only 1,15,000 students have applied so far and August 16 is the last date,” an official from the education department said.
Suneel Magar, State Education Joint Director (Admin and Management) said there were two more weeks to go, during which the numbers could increase drastically.
“Though 18 lakh students applied last year, less than half got selected. This could be one of the reason why students are not applying,” Magar said.
Rubbishing the claims made by the officials, education activist Matin Mujawar it was lack of awareness and not Ramadan that was responsible for poor numbers.
“There is still no awareness about the scheme. Many a times schools neglect it because the managements are expected to submit online applications of the beneficiaries,” Mujawar said. “Last year also the response was low in the initial stage. But picked up after the education department made it mandatory and even issued warnings to institutes that were passive in submitting online applications.”
>> Students from minority communities
>> Only children studying in classes I to X can avail the facility
>> Should score minimum 50 per cent marks
>> Family should be making below Rs 1 lakh per annum
>> Scholarship ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 6,000 per academic year
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