New Delhi : The Centre’s move to bar students applying for the National Foreign Scholarship (NOS) program from pursuing humanities and social science courses related to Indian culture at foreign universities has drawn criticism from both the opposition and the teacher fraternity.
NOS provides financial assistance to students from marginalized sections, including Scheduled Castes, Unknown Nomads and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, landless farm laborers and traditional artisans, to pursue post-graduation or PhD courses abroad.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment amended the guidelines prohibiting students from applying for courses on Indian culture, heritage, history and social studies at foreign universities.
On Sunday, the government said the decision was based on the premise that such courses could be pursued at Indian universities for “more practical skills”, where students could pursue “new age subjects” at foreign universities and bring that knowledge back to India. .
Candidates belonging to families with low annual income 38 lakhs are eligible for this project. The Ministry has added a mandatory clause in the guidelines of the scheme stating: “Subjects / syllabi related to social studies on Indian culture, heritage, history, India based research subjects will not be included under NOS. The final decision on what can be covered under such a section will depend on the selection-cum-screening committee of the NOS. ”
Previously, scholarships were available for any field of study.
“The government should make clear its decision on the choice of subjects under NOS as it would adversely affect academic autonomy and critical research on various forms of inequality and error in Indian society. Education policy and intellectual pursuits should reflect the needs of society, not the whims and fancies of the ruling elite or hegemonic ideology, “said Maya John, an assistant professor of history at Delhi University. Now it has amended the guidelines to exclude research in history, social sciences and cultural studies, which were covered earlier, “Pradyut Bordoloi, a Congress MP from Assam, tweeted. “It reflects the concerns of independent-minded students and a regime that fears a critical scholarship that could challenge its ideals. This method of suffocating research is a problematic sign that we all need to worry about.”
Apurbananda, a professor at Delhi University, said in a Twitter post: “The RSS-backed government wants to keep the SC / ST community under its intellectual / Brahmanical domination. In doing so, it is trying to keep them away from international scholarship. “
The ministry said the subjects could be pursued at leading Indian institutes and central universities “to gain more practical skills and knowledge by learning and studying from Indian professors who will gain more experience and practical knowledge on the subject than their counterparts in foreign universities.”
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