New Delhi, April 16
Majority of students from Jammu and Kashmir, who avail a special scholarship by the Centre to pursue higher education across India, have said living outside their state has changed their knowledge and attitude towards people from other parts of the country, according to a survey.
The survey was conducted by Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), which was tasked by the Union human resource development (HRD) ministry and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to assess the Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme(PMSSS) for students from Jammu and Kashmir.
The institute was asked to evaluate the scheme, find out problems faced by the students and reasons behind dropouts among others. More than 2,670 students participated in the survey.
Most of the students, according to the survey, said they would leave the restive state to pursue further education and look for jobs outside.
“Students were able to explore new lifestyles and new situations. They also said that the scheme helped in improvement in self-knowledge, attitude and behaviour, confidence level, developing taste for different food, learning different languages and culture, among others,” the draft report submitted to the council, which is the regulatory body for higher education, says.
A final report will be submitted soon by the institute.
Some students complained that the places they were studying were not safe for them and they find it difficult to adjust to the new environment because of the difference in language and culture. They also complained about the delay in disbursement of scholarship money.
A majority of the students or 66.5% stated they faced financial difficulties when the money given under the scholarship is delayed and 31.8% said they did not face any problem during the scholarship process.
The students stated various reasons or impact of the financial difficulties when they get the money late. Half of the students or 50.6% mentioned they faced difficulties due to delay in disbursement of scholarship. One-fourth of the students or 24.4% said they faced difficulties in terms of two things: first, they have to pay fees and then claim for reimbursement. Further, 22.6% students said the amount given under the scholarship was not sufficient.
Students were asked to share their plans after the completion of their course. More than half or 60.5% of the students said they would go outside their state for further education and 32.7% of the students stated they would look for jobs elsewhere. And, 17.3% mentioned they would go back to Jammu and Kashmir and look for jobs.
They also suggested that maintenance and library charges should be paid for, the processing time for funds should be short and quick, web portal should be updated and a quick response for the application among others.
The survey found that the special scholarship scheme had inherent problems such as students taking admission on their own in any college or institution.
“The scheme got hijacked by vested parties and from 2014-15, the HRD ministry introduced a transparent system to streamline the process of scholarship and students were required to apply online,” said a senior HRD official.
In 2016-17, 2,130 students were admitted and their scholarships released, and in 2017-18, the number has gone up to 2,933.
The special scholarship scheme was launched in 2011 to provide opportunities to students for pursuing higher education outside the state. Each scholarship entails annual monetary support of up to Rs 90,000 for hostel fees, Rs 10,000 for incidentals and stationery, and anywhere between Rs 30,000 and Rs 3 lakh for the tuition fee.
Officials say 5,000 new scholarships for general, engineering and medical studies are awarded every year by the government. The council has been given the task of implementing the award of scholarships to candidates from the strife-torn state.