Student-members of Students’ Helping Hand, an organisation representing scheduled caste (SC) students, submitted a letter on Wednesday to the commissioner of social justice, Pune, demanding a cap on the annual income of the families of students who receive scholarships from the state social department of justice.
The organisation said that parents who earn more than ₹20 lakh per annum should no longer be considered for this scheme, as the really needy students were being left behind.
Every year, the state provides scholarships to 75 SC students across classes to study abroad. Between 2003 and 2021, 642 students went abroad for studies on such scholarships.
Students’ Helping Hand also sought to increase the number of recipients from the current 75 to 200, as thousands of students apply for these scholarships every year. They also demanded that students be provided training to help them secure admission abroad and to guide them through the admission process.
Kuldeep Ambekar, president of Students’ Helping Hand said that scholarships given by the department are valuable forscheduled caste (SC) students but since most study in rural areas, they are often unaware of these schemes.
Even if they get to know about the schemes, they don’t get the scholarship because every year, only 75 students are given this scholarship, he said.
“It is seen that there is no cap on the yearly income of the students’ families, so students who are financially well-settled and who can afford overseas education also apply for this scholarship,” he said.
“So our three major demands are to increase the number of scholarships offered to 200, put a cap on the annual income of the student’s family, and guide the students in the admission process,” Ambekar added.
Bharat Kendre, joint commissioner of the department, said, that the proposal for increasing the number of scholarships is ready and the official order will soon be given.
“The decision about implementing the cap on the student’s family’s income will also be taken at the ministry level. Meanwhile, we are also planning to start a guidance and training programme for students for getting admission in universities abroad,” Kendre said.
CCE Finland, TAS Pune working on curiosity-based pedagogy model
The Academy School (TAS), Pune, hosted a seminar-cum-discussion where the panel deliberated on several topics including the current trends in international school education and what can be done to create more engaging, creative, learning experiences for children.
Heramb Kulkarni, founder-director, CCE Finland, said that the world is looking for 21st century skills. “The education system should answer the question with new pedagogy on which CCE Finland and TAS are working together. The effort, emphasis and approach should not be intellectual-based but curiosity-based. Earlier, the pace of revolution was 50 years. Now, it’s ever changing. To make the change consumable, it needs a lot of resilience on all fronts,” Kulkarni said. The Academy School is one of the first schools to adopt the National Education Policy (NEP) model in collaboration with the Finland education system. Speakers discussed how they can blend the two and bring about much-needed change in education in keeping with international trends.
Saroj Raman, principal, TAS, said that the focus should be more on the assessment of learning than that of teaching. “The focus is now shifting and it is time we build curiosity as the base for education. There is so much we can do with today’s students who are our country’s tomorrow,” she said.