Meritorious students in West Bengal now have a new reason for celebration as the state government on December 20 hiked the state-sponsored scholarship amount from Rs 45 crore to Rs 200 crore for them.
"We have hiked the allocation of Vivekananda Scholarship from Rs 45 crore to Rs 200 crore so that the students may study up to the medical, engineering levels," West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said, adding, “The hike is in sync with the government’s policy to encourage poor, meritorious students to pursue higher studies.”
Saying that the state government is focusing more on improving the higher education sector, Chatterjee said that over 23 more universities were built in the past six-and-a-half years.
“From 13 universities six-and-a-half years back, the present government has built 23 more universities and has increased four lakh seats in state-run and private degree and engineering colleges,” Chatterjee said while speaking at a function to distribute Jahar Lal Chandra Merit Scholarship to 43 Secondary Examination toppers from different districts of the state.
“The state government has recruited 1 lakh teachers at Madhyamik and Primary levels to clear backlog and upgraded schools, especially in rural areas,” he said further.
The education minister highlighted the growth of minority and tribal girls in higher education sector and said that these girls are moving ahead of boys in studies and are topping ranks.
"I have figures to show that girls are moving ahead of boys in attaining success in studies all over the state,” he said, adding, “This does not indicate that boys are inferior to girls, but it shows our families are bringing girls to the front row."
According to reports, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on June 3 this year announced a Rs 20 crore fund from an existing programme for the non-NET students in the state.
"Aspirations for higher education are rising. In the larger interest of research, and on behalf of the vast research scholar community of my state and other states – many of them first generation learners — I have already written a letter to the Union HRD Minister to re-start the non-NET Fellowships for M Phil and Ph.D scholars,” she said, adding, “Since the researchers have told me, from our side, we are allocating Rs 20 crore from Swami Vivekananda Merit cum Means Scholarship to provide non-NET Fellowship to research scholars admitted to M.Phil/Ph.D courses through a fair and transparent selection process," she said.