TIRUCHY: Educationists and activists have raised the 'unjust' criteria in the PM Young Achievers Scholarship Award Scheme for Vibrant India (PM-YASAVI), a Union Government scholarship scheme by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Starting in 2021, students of Class 9 and Class 11 from Other Backward Class (OBC), Economically Backward Class (EBC), and Denotified Tribes, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (DNT) communities would be awarded a scholarship of Rs 75,000 (Class 9) and Rs 1.25 lakh (Class 11) per year.
The announcement of examinations for Class 9 and 11 students this month raised several questions regarding the medium of examination - English and Hindi - and the schools that were specified by the department to be eligible. S Sivakumar, former principal of the District Institute of Education and Training, who also guides students for government scholarships, said by conducting the exams in only two languages, students who studied in their native languages will be left behind.
This year, 15,000 students from across the country will be chosen for the scholarship, 1,547 of them from Tamil Nadu. The Department has mentioned the communities whose students would be eligible to receive the scholarship, and mandated that the annual income of the families should not be more than Rs 2.50 lakh.
Sivakumar questioned why the department should select the schools themselves. In Tamil Nadu 3,997 schools for Class 9 and 2,596 schools for Class 11 have been chosen. "The norms for the selection of schools is their performance, if they yield 100 percent pass in Class 9 and 11 in the previous year," he said, asking, "How can schools' performance be a criteria for giving out scholarship?"
R Kesavamoorthy, who runs a center in Coimbatore that trains students for scholarship exams, said that a letter was sent to the ministry suggesting the addition of a few more schools but there was no response to it. "It is unfortunate what the union government is doing, and eligible students from other schools risk being left behind," he added.