NEW DELHI : The Centre’s decision to bar students applying for the National Overseas Scholarship Scheme (NOS) from taking courses in the humanities and social sciences related to Indian culture at overseas universities has drawn criticism from the part of the opposition and the teaching fraternity.
The NOS provides financial assistance to students from marginalized sections, including Scheduled Castes, Denotified Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, Landless Agricultural Laborers and Traditional Craftsmen, to pursue postgraduate or doctoral courses at the foreigner.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment revised guidelines barring students from applying for courses related to Indian culture, heritage, history and social studies at foreign universities.
On Sunday, the government said the decision was based on the principle that such courses can be taken at Indian universities for “more practical expertise”, while students can pursue “new age subjects” at foreign universities. and bring that knowledge back to India. .
Candidates belonging to families whose annual income is less than ₹8 lakh are eligible for the scheme. The ministry added a mandatory clause to the program guidelines which stated: “Subjects/courses concerning Indian culture, heritage, history, social studies on a research topic based in India will not be covered by the NOS . The final decision as to which subject may be covered in such a category will rest with the NOS Selection and Selection Committee.”
Previously, the scholarship was available for any field of study.
“The government should avoid deciding on the choice of subjects under NOS as it will negatively affect academic autonomy and critical studies on different kinds of discriminations and flaws in Indian society. Educational policies and intellectual pursuits must reflect the needs of society, not the whims and fancies of the ruling elite or the dominant ideology of the time,” said Maya John, assistant professor of history at Delhi University. “NOS was started by Prime Minister Nehru in the 1950s to promote educational opportunities among marginalized students in India. An insecure BJP government has now revised guidelines to exclude research in history, social sciences and cultural studies, previously covered,” Assam Congress MP Pradyut Bordoloi tweeted. “This reflects the concerns of a regime that is afraid of independent students and critical scholars who might challenge its ideology. This suffocating method of research is a worrying sign that should concern us all.”
Apoorvanand, a professor at the University of Delhi, said in a post on Twitter: “The RSS-backed government wants to keep the people of the SC/ST community under its intellectual/Brahamic domination. To do this, he tries to keep them away from the international stock exchange.”
The ministry said subjects can be pursued in India’s top institutes and central universities to get “more expertise and practical knowledge by learning and studying from Indian professors who would have more experience and practical knowledge on the subject than their counterparts in foreign universities”.
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