Srinagar: The delay by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to hold the student counseling under the Prime Minister's Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) has made the aspiring candidates anxious and uncertain about the continuity of the scheme for J&K students.
The PMSSS was launched in 2010 after an expert group was constituted by the Prime Minister on 18 August 2010 in the context of enhancing employment opportunities among the youth of J&K and to formulate job plans involving public and private sectors.
Under the scheme, fresh scholarships are given to J&K students to pursue undergraduate studies outside J&K for improving their skills by providing access to education.
The scheme was started in 2011 and modified from time-to-time to make it student-friendly.
However, a group of aspiring students said that the AICTE was not holding counseling sessions for the students for their fresh admissions from the current academic year which had created apprehensions about the continuity of the scheme in J&K.
After the launch of the scheme, the Government of India (GoI) in 2015 said that the scheme was extended till 2020 and another extension would be granted after the completion of five-year tenure.
“In 2020, PMSSS completed another phase and officials at AICTE assured that the scheme will be extended for next five years for the benefit of the students,” said Sajad Ahmad Lone of BoniyarBaramulla, who is presently enrolled under the scheme.
He said that the AICTE was supposed to hold counseling of aspiring students in April-May which, however, has been delayed for reasons unknown.
AICTE holds counseling of eligible students who have qualified the class 12th exams from a recognised board.
“Last year, when Covid-19 was at its peak, AICTE held counseling in July but this year they have not announced any date so far,” Lone said.
The delay in announcing dates of student counseling for fresh admissions under the PMSSS has left the students in a dilemma.
“We are in a dilemma as we are not sure whether AICTE will hold counseling or not. While waiting for AICTE counseling, students are not applying in other private colleges or degree colleges within Kashmir to pursue higher studies,” a student said.
The students said that they had been subjected to mental agony given the delay by the AICTE in holding student counseling.
“We appeal to the GoI and the AICTE to announce the dates of student counseling which will provide relief to the students,” they said.
Meanwhile, the AICTE has flashed on its website that the continuation of the PMSSS scheme and related dates would be announced shortly.
“This news has flashed for the last many weeks but they are yet to decide a particular date for it,” Lone said.