Aqib Majeed, a lanky 1st year student of S.P. College Srinagar hails from rural Bandipora district. His father is a humble employee and supports his educational expenses, which includes monthly rent of room in which Aqib stays. “I wanted to enroll for medicine, but due to financial constraints I couldn’t realize my dream of becoming a doctor”.
Aqib’s eyes gleamed with optimism when he heard about the new scholarship scheme recently launched by the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD). He has got good grades in his class XII Board and now, optimistically, looks forward to apply for the scholarship. “Only thing I want from my college is proper guidance and help to apply for this scheme”.  Aqib’s dream has been rekindled, unexpectedly.    
Twenty five thousand students from J&K over a period of five years will be enrolled in various professional courses in different governmental and non-governmental institutions outside of J&K. As an initiative aimed at enhancing jobs prospects of the students from J&K by financially supporting their educational expenses and honing them into skilled human resource, a special scholarship scheme was launched by the Prime Minister of India, as a follow up of the recommendation of an expert group. This Expert Group came into being on 18th August last year on the advice of the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Manmohan Singh.
The special scholarship scheme will benefit 5000 students every year who can pursue their higher education outside of J&K in general and professional courses like M.B.B.S, MBA, Engineering, Tourism and Travel Management, Hotel Management, and Information Technology.
“This seems to be a very substantial scholarship, but we don’t have any information regarding it”, says Prof. Mushtaq Ahmad Wani Principal Women’s College, M. A. Road. “As of now, we have not received any communication from the government about the scholarship” he informs. 
“Government should start awareness campaign so that information reaches to every deserving student.” says Mr. Tariq Ahmad Bhat, Principal Muslim Educational Institution (MEI) Pampore, one of the largest educational institutions of the saffron town.
“In our school there are many students from economically disadvantaged sections who have shown consistent merit. I believe if this scheme is properly implemented, it will make their lives better.” He further adds.
“When we read about Prime Minister’s announcement of a special scholarship scheme for J&K students, we sought information about it every where, but we couldn’t find it. We even approached the Government Secretariat, but even there we didn’t get any information. I don’t know why government has not sent any official notification to us” Mr. Amin, a senior lecturer in a Government Higher Secondary School, like many skeptics of such government sponsored schemes, harbors this apprehension that people at the helm of affairs might use this scheme for advancing the careers of their favorites.
After speaking to various heads of educational institutions, both government and private, it becomes clear that no formal communication has been sent by the government to update these institutions about the scheme. If people are made aware about this scheme in advance, they would be spared from seeking educational loans from Banks, which charge them huge interest and put huge psychological pressure on students. At times it becomes difficult for parents to repay the loan.   
According to the experts, the special scholarship scheme will have a definite effect on the educational scene of J&K. A huge chunk of educated youth will be exposed to new environment and get benefit to avail job opportunities presented by growing Indian economy. Out of 5000 thousand scholarships each year, 250 each would be earmarked for engineering and medicine courses. That would mean each year a good number of meritorious students belonging to economically disadvantaged sections will enter medical and engineering colleges, a privilege that very few attain in extremely competitive environment of Kashmir, where for selected seats in lone medical and engineering colleges around 70 thousand students apply.     
Since the special scholarship comes with a significant amount, this is very likely that a lot of students would like to apply. Therefore, in case number of applicants exceeds the number of scholarships, then selection would me made on the basis of marks obtained in class XII examination conducting by J&K BOSE.
For the proper implementation and monitoring of the scheme an inter-ministerial committee would be constituted chaired by Secretary Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD).
The student, who secures admission in the institutions outside J&K, would submit the requisite documents to the institution and that institution would forward the list to the scholarship division of the Department of Higher Education.  
The select reputed institutions/colleges that this scheme boasts of include BITS Pilani, VIT, Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition, Christian Medical College, Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, and Indian Institute of Information Technology.
The scheme seems to hold a lot of promise. If properly managed who can say next year, in one of the prestigious campuses, Aqib is seen striding for morning class in a white apron holding a thick tome of Anatomy.  


Lastupdate on : Tue, 6 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 6 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 7 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST

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