'Red tape deters students from availing scholarship'

Not a single student from at least 37 schools in the City has availed the pre-matric scholarship meant for the benefit of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students, according to a survey by the South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM), because of the procedure involved.

To avail the scholarship, a student has to furnish caste and income certificates and the procedure to obtain these certificates has deterred the students from applying for scholarship. Teachers at the schools in five wards where the study was conducted say that a majority of the parents are daily wage workers and they do not want to lose a day’s labour to obtain the certificates.

“The scholarship amount is Rs 250 per annum. Parents feel they would rather forego it than spend time trying to obtain the certificates. In my school, no student has got the scholarship for the last four years,” says a teacher from a government school in Shivajinagar. The survey covered KR Puram, Vasanthnagar, Shivajinagar, Pulikeshinagar and Chamarajpet wards.

The new online system promised for students invites more questions from teachers. Says a headmaster of a school, requesting anonymity, “How do they expect students to furnish details online? We cater to a section of students where attending school is a challenge. Forget students, teachers are not equipped to handle computers.” For many government schools, internet is still a farfetched idea when there are no telephone lines for them. 

Many suggest that since the scholarship amount is Rs 250 per annum for boys and Rs 350 per annum for girls, the department can instead divert the funds to provide study material for students. 

There are others like Vimalakshamma, a teacher, who feel that though meagre, the amount is used by many students to buy things that are of use to them. 

For instance, parents who cannot afford to spend money on their children’s books, use the scholarship to buy notebooks for the academic year, she says. 

When questioned on the problem in obtaining caste and income certificates, M K Aiyyappa, Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore Urban, said schools that face problems can approach him and resolve the issue. 

“There are hardly any applications seeking certificates pending with us. The delivery has been 99 per cent. With Sakaala in place, there is no problem getting the certificates on time. If the problem lies with applying for the certificates, we at the office will help parents to fill up forms. Teachers too must guide the parents,” he added. 

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