SC student Supriya Ayangbam had first applied for the post-metric scholarship way back in 2011. She finally received the scholarship amount of Rs. 5700 for the first year, few days back after all the agitations and protests at Manipur Bhavan in Chanakyapuri. Though the money would not be able to cover all her expanses but this would certainly give some respite to her parents.
Chinglen Khumukcham of North-East Forum for International Solidarity which was responsible for holding the protest said, “Most of the students eligible for the scholarship are from very poor background. Some of their parents have taken out loans to support their education in Delhi and other cities like Chandigarh and Bangalore.”
According to a final year philosophy student at Miranda House Melody Phokchom, “Most students don’t ask their parents for money but take up jobs themselves. They’ll work at call-centre after a full day of college.” Students like Phokchom believe that due to the raising protests over the issue they have got the amounts this time. Ayangbam feels, “There should be a system and money should come on time every year.” They both think there is inefficiency in the process and the scholarship should increase its amount. Phockchom added, “The money is too little. For arts stream, I think the maximum is Rs. 8,000 per annum which is very small amount. I want the government to increase the scholarship.”
N Paul Divakar, from National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) said, “We generally see that even the poorest can keep their kids in school at least till Class 10. But now funds are being diverted away from higher education and even the movement in this area isn’t focused. To see them through high school, there’s the pre-metric scholarship and the disbursal of that is apparently smoother.”