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An Appeal

For grant from CSR funds for scholarship cum pathways programme for SC/ST/BPL and other socially and economically disadvantaged students.

 

This is to request all concerned to consider Foundation for Academic Excellence and Access for grant of scholarship cum training programme for socially and economically disadvantaged sections especially from SC, ST and BPL Category.

 

For a nation that boasts of the largest and most comprehensive human resource in the world, we have been remiss in not developing a higher education delivery system that would marry the finest young minds from these sections of our society with the best of institutional learning and training, and the gap has increasingly widened over the years because of huge financial and even cultural disabilities. There are doubtless government schemes to support the cause of Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribes Students in higher education. But generally they do not have much focus on providing good education to them. Unless these students have access to excellence, they will not have access to centers of power and economic opportunities in society. Therefore it is absolutely necessary to have programmes which will enable them to study in best institutions possible. From our experience we have also realized that it is not enough to provide scholarships. If these students are to compete with students from elite sections of the society in terms of equivalence, it is necessary to provide supplementary training programme in matters such as Soft Skills and Entrepreneurship.

 

From our experience of interacting with these scholars, we have also learnt that such a programme will take care of the problems of reservation in private sector also. Year after year the students have told us that they would prefer a scholarship programme like this based on the idea of dignity and self to that of reservations.

 

FAEA was established in the summer of 2002 and then we have discovered that the scholarship programme combined with supplementary training programme makes a huge difference to the lives of the underprivileged students. We have helped our scholars to realize their dreams. So far we have given scholarship to 1900 students selected on the basis of a Deprivation Index devised by some of the ablest social scientists in the country. We have also arranged training programme for them to upscale their skills. These students belong to the poorest, the most marginalized and the disadvantaged groups. Most of these students are children of agricultural labourers, coolies, porters, tea stall owners and so on. Indeed some of these students have themselves worked as coolies and agricultural labourers. We have been able to place some of these students in the best institutions including I.I.Ts and other institutions of national importance, mentor their academics, hone their skills and closely monitor their progress. Out of 1900 beneficiary scholars 548 scholars have gone to IIT’s, NIT’s, IIIT’s, AIIMS and the best of Medical Colleges in the country. It is heartening to note that many of them have completed their courses successfully with merit and have found useful placement. In the initial stages, with the support of Ford Foundation we had also executed a massive programme for soft skills development for these students in 25 Colleges in the country but that programme came to an end in the year 2009. It is because of the funds we have received from various agencies as well as citizens of our country. We have been able to help these socially and economically disadvantaged students fly on their wings. But whatever we have been able to achieve is just a drop in the ocean. There is a large deprived section which is still awaiting our helping hand so that they are able to come out of slough of despair, find suitable placement and lead a life of dignity.

 

We wish to bring to your notice that even a small organisation like ours received around 15000 applications for about 50 Scholarships last year, and that too without advertisement. So great is the need of SC/ST/BPL Category Students for financial support to enable them to get good education, even after 70 years of Independence!

 

We hope that you will respond, and respond generously to this noble cause by making a substantial contribution.

 

For further details about us you can visit our website at www.faeaindia.org .

 

Prof. V. R. Mehta
 

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