Published: 03rd February 2022
India sees a 25% dip in fellowships awarded — women, marginalised students worst affected: MoE
The answer provided data of twelve fellowships in total awarded by the University Grants Commission (UGC), including three fellowships from other ministries
A large chunk of students who pursue higher education in India rely on fellowships. But that number has come down by almost 25 per cent in the past five years. The Ministry of Education's Department of Higher Education revealed this data on February 2 in the Rajya Sabha while replying to a set of questions placed by MP Dr V Sivadasan. MoS Education, Dr Subhas Sarkar answered Dr Sivadasan's question.
The answer provided data of twelve fellowships in total awarded by the University Grants Commission (UGC), including three fellowships from other ministries that are disbursed by the UGC, from 2016-17 to 2020-21. With the exception of four of those, all of the other fellowships have seen a significant drop in the number of beneficiaries. Dr Sarkar said that the UGC has revised its guidelines and is inviting applications according to the new set of rules. "After cessation of (the) XII Plan Period, UGC decided to revise and rationalise the guidelines of the fellowship/scholarship schemes and constituted a Committee for this purpose. The revised guidelines prepared by the Committee have been approved by the Commission and UGC is in the final stage of inviting applications as per the revised guidelines," said Dr Sarkar. The UGC's XII Plan Period ended in 2017.
Who's hit the most? The beneficiaries for Teacher Centric schemes have come down by 76.6 per cent — the Emeritus Fellowship lost 377 fellows in these five years — down from 474 to just 14. Next up, Basic Science Research Fellowship has lost 82.9 per cent of its beneficiaries. National Fellowship for SC Students saw a significant drop of 5,517 students from its beneficiary list — a drop of 58.05 per cent. While the National Fellowship for Students of Other Backward Classes (OBC) saw a significant rise of about 73 per cent, the total fellowships awarded to students from marginalised communities saw a 28.38 per cent dip. Post Doctoral Fellowship for SC/ST students saw a drastic fall of over 40 per cent in the number of beneficiaries.
But there were some gainers too, Swami Vivekananda Single Girl Child Fellowship for Research has grown in terms of beneficiaries over the years from 77 to 263 — 241.6 per cent. The number of students availing the National Fellowship for Students of Other Backward Classes (OBC ) has also increased — from just 714 in 2016-17 to 1235 in 2020-21.
While the government has been promoting educational reforms and focusing on higher education, the pace seems slow. The XII Plan Period ended in 2017 but five years into it, the commission hasn't been able to roll out the fellowships following the new guidelines yet.