Scholarships remove financials barriers and help in empowering academic and career goals of bright students. Getting a scholarship takes away all financial concerns thereby providing mental stability and peace. It provides recipients more time to study smoothly and gain knowledge. The 21st century has brought new issues, new challenges and new subjects (Infectious diseases, Global climate change, technologies of biological intervention, intelligent automation, etc) and demand adequate and fast responses to problems that affect the well being of humanity. None other than the bright students of the country can address modern challenges and summons. Governments of few countries including Saudi Arabia support their young bright students through scholarships and motivate them to leave their home country and learn in educationally advanced countries. When the recipients of scholarships return to their home countries, they return with new knowledge, new experience and new ideas. Nonetheless, our country has number of such excellent schemes for scholarships/ fellowships for students and students are advised to take advantage from them. It is exclusively on merit and caliber. Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme (PMSS) is being implemented to encourage underprivileged students for technical and post-graduate education after 12th class and scholarships are available at various professional institutions for medical, dental, veterinary, engineering, MBA, MCA and for other programs. I know that thousands of students across J & K were benefited by this program and have many good success stories, as revealed by a team of top official of AICTE during their visit to Kashmir. It is being coordinated very meticulously and introduced at gross root level. One such awareness convention was held in my Alma Matter at Govt. Higher Secondary School Handwara. UGC scholarship majorly focuses on providing financial aid for college and university level studies. Both meritorious and underprivileged students can avail these scholarships. A Special Support for Research and Innovation launched recently is indeed fruitful, which cover the professionals and non-professionals, including foreign nationals. Ministry of Education, Govt of India is also having provision of providing many Scholarships and fellowships including to doctorial students. Hundreds of Ph.D students at NIT Srinagar are receiving fairly good amount of monthly fellowships and contingencies. Department of Science & Technology (DST) is promoting new areas and play vital the role of a nodal department for organizing, coordinating and promoting S&T activities in the country and beyond. The department has number of schemes for the students at different stages. The INSPIRE fellowship provides 1,000 funded full-time research fellowships for doctoral study annually. The purpose of the program is to attract top students to pursue doctoral studies. Inspire Internships programmes and many other components of the scheme have been conducted at NIT Srinagar under my coordination and guidance.
Fulbright-Nehru Postdoctoral Fellowships are designed for Indian talented faculty and researchers who are in the early stages of their research careers and to strengthen their research capacities. Fellowships are for 8 to 24 months and are available in many different fields including science, technology, arts, economics, law and the humanities. Indo-U.S. Fellowship for Women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) is aimed to provide opportunities to Indian Women Scientists, Engineers & Technologists to undertake international collaborative research in premier institutions, to enhance their research capacities and capabilities in global perspective. German Chancellor Fellowship allows prospective leaders from Brazil, China, India, Russia and the U.S. to carry out a project of their own design in cooperation with a host in Germany for one year. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships contribute to excellent research, boosting jobs, growth and investment by equipping researchers with new knowledge and skills, and foster research cooperation across borders, sectors and disciplines. Engrossed in other assignments, wish to avail the Marie-Curie fellowship. UNESCO provides global and regional leadership in education, strengthens education systems worldwide and responds to contemporary global challenges. Its work encompasses educational development from pre-school to higher education and beyond. Fellowships are an effective modality for UNESCO to enhance the human resources and capacity-building of Member States, especially developing countries. Like others, Foundation For Excellence, awards merit cum means scholarships to gifted students from financially deprived backgrounds pursuing Engineering, Medical, Law and B Pharm degrees in India. The mission is to bring about a transformation of their lives and transition them to a higher economic bracket in a single generation. They can be reached through www.ffe.org. It needs days to write details and benefits about scholarships/ fellowships at various stages by various governments and NGOs, which was rare during our school days.
(The author is teaching Nanotechnology at NIT Srinagar.Views are his own)