3500 students in Kamrup (M) to receive late scholarships this year
GUWAHATI: Around 3,500 students in Kamrup (Metro) will bear the brunt of late conduct of examination for the Chief Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (CMSSS) this year.
The first screening examination which is conducted at the primary level is usually held between December and March every year - before the beginning of the academic year. However, it is yet to be conducted for the academic year 2018-19.
The chief minister’s scholarship scheme was initiated in 2012 to provide meritorious students of classes V and VIII of government schools of the state some monetary relief in the pursuit of their education. The scheme provides for a one-time assistance of Rs 5,000 in the form of a cheque to meritorious students after a written examination.
The scholarship amount is then fixed deposited for five years in the bank. Officials at the directorate of elementary education informed that last year close to 93,000 students were beneficiaries of this scheme.
The guidelines for the scholarship test mention for the district elementary education officers (DEEO) to constitute an examination committee at the district level. The committee shall supervise and monitor the process of the conduct of the examination for scholarship. Further, the guidelines state that the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Education) shall be the chairman of the committee while the District Elementary Education Officer (DEEO) will be the member secretary.
The written examination is conducted on two days for classes V and VIII. Officials informed that this year, tentative dates for the tests were decided as July 21 and 22. However, these dates too are likely to be postponed.
“The government had decided on July 21 and 22 as the dates for the examination but a delegation of the lower primary teachers’ association has conveyed to us that it would be difficult for them to collect students for the test during the vacation period. The date might therefore be further postponed,” deputy director of directorate of elementary education, Manoranjan Kakati, informed G Plus.
Elaborating on the reasons for the long delay in conducting the scholarship examination, Kakati said that the scholarship test could not be held on time this year since the government was busy in organising another test for the students of classes V to XII under a separate government scheme.
“The test for the other scheme was conducted in January and thus the date of scholarship examination had to be postponed,” Kakati added.
Officials, however, said that they will conduct the examination for the chief minister’s scholarship scheme in January from next year onwards.
“We will hold the scholarship test before Bihu from the next academic year onwards so that the students do not suffer,” said an official of the elementary education department.
Lackadaisical approach of the government
On the other hand, district elementary education officer for Kamrup (Metro), Buli Gogoi Bhuyan, mentioned that there are around 2,000 class V students and close to 1,500 class VIII students in Kamrup (Metro) who are potential beneficiaries of the chief minister’s scholarship scheme.
The district elementary education authorities also informed that they had earlier received information from the state education department to conduct the scholarship examination in December 2017 for the next year, but it was then deferred.
“The examination date then got postponed from December to March and then finally to April. However, the school results were supposed to be declared in April and so the test was further delayed,” informed Bhuyan.
Mentioning the logistical hurdles in conducting late examination, Bhuyan said that since the test was delayed, those students who are currently in class IX will now have to appear for the class VIII test and class VI students will appear for the scholarship examination for class V which will be problematic for the students.
Further, authorities mentioned that many students have changed schools after passing out of class VIII.
“It will prove to be difficult for us now to track those students who are currently studying in a different school after getting into class IX,” said a district education official on the condition of anonymity.
Further, members of the All Assam Lower Primary Teachers’ Association (AALPTA) blamed the lackadaisical approach and apathy of the government for the late conduct of the scholarship examination.
“We have submitted a list of demands to the education department and have requested the authorities to conduct the examination at the earliest for this academic year,” general secretary of the AALPTA, Ratul Chandra Goswami, said.
Education officials added that a cut-off limit is set for the scholarship examination on the basis of which meritorious students are selected across the state.
The state government’s guidelines mention that 1,00,000 shall be awarded the scholarships—50,000 at the primary level for class V and 50,000 for the upper primary level for students of class VIII.