The Ministry of Social Justice released a notification where they informed that the National Eligibility Test is mandatory for all Scheduled Caste Students to undertake advanced studies and research leading to M.Phil/Ph.D. Degrees. Earlier the Schedules Caste students were allowed to take admission on the basis of their research papers for M.Phil/Ph.D. Degrees, whereas for others, it was mandatory to appear for National Eligibility Test for securing admissions in the Universities/Institutions/Colleges recognized by UGC.
The Notification released was considered ‘exclusionary’ in nature. It was believed that with this, hundreds of promising scholars will be forced to avoid pursue higher studies due to lack of funds with the community.
“This order will have an exclusionary effect and hundreds of promising scholars from the SC community will be forced to abandon their education due to lack of funds,” president of Students Islamic Organisation (SIO), Labeed Shafi said in a statement.
National Fellowship Scheme for providing fellowship to the Schedules Caste Students, a central sector scheme was introduced during the financial year 2005-06 to provide opportunities to Schedules Caste students for pursuing higher education leading to M.Phil/Ph.D. degrees in Science, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Engineering, and Technology streams.
The Objective of the scheme is to provide fellowships in the form of financial assistance to students belonging to SC category to pursue higher studies leading to M.Phil/Ph.D. in Indian Universities/Institutions/Colleges recognized by UGC.
The Notification regarding the changed criteria informs that the scheme will provide 2000 fellowships in a year, effective from 1st April 2019.
“Scheduled Caste candidates who have qualified National Eligibility Test- Junior Research Fellowship (NET-JRF) of UGC or UGC-Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (UGC-CSIR) Joint Test should enroll for the course in the eligible Universities/Institutions/Colleges within Six months from the date of declaration of results by UGC in respect of the above and be registered within 01 year from date of enrolment,” says the eligibility details from the new rules notified by the Ministry of Social Justice in October last year.
“The new guidelines are unjust and a move to exclude Dalit students from higher education,” he said last month at a news conference held by the Delhi University Teachers Association to protest the “attack on a reservation in educational institutions”, as reported by The Telegraph.
Earlier the BJP Parliamentarian Udit Raj called this move ‘unjust’.