Scholarships To Help Bright, Poor Kids Do Hr Sec

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New Delhi, May 9 (UNI) At least 100,000 scholarships will be disbursed every year to encourage meritorious students from economically weaker sections to continue in school after class VIII, the Human Resource Development Ministry announced today.

The announcement came after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a centrally sponsored National means-cum-merit- Scholarship scheme estimated to cost Rs 3004.04 crore during the 11th Five Year plan.

''The objective,'' the HRD Ministry said, was to arrest dropout rates and encourage ''meritorious students belonging to poorer section'' to pursue secondary education ''up to class XII.'' At least 100,000 scholarships-- Rs 6,000 a year each-- will be awarded to students at the beginning of Class IX and till Class XII, it said.

Class VIII Students in government, local body and government-aided schools ''whose parental income from all sources is not more than Rs 150,000 a year will be eligible.'' Selection will be made through a State level test conducted along with the ''first stage selection test of the National Talent Search Examination'' under the guidance of the National Council of Educational Research and Training.

The scheme will be funded from the interest of a Rs 750 crore corpus to be created with the State Bank of India in 2008-09-- and a like amount added every year the next three years.

The corpus requirement during the XI Five Year Plan will be Rs 3000 crore and the scholarships expenditure, Rs 600 crore.

This would help reduce dropouts among meritorious students belonging to poorer sections at the secondary stage.

UNI MJ RP ND1804

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