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Scholarship mirrors growth

Students from Bihar have performed better in the upcoming session compared to 2013 in the National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme.

State education minister P.K. Shahi declared the results of the scholarship on Thursday.

For the session 2014-15, the examination for which was conducted on November 17 last year, 4,231 students from the state have cleared the tests. In 2013, only 2,808 students had cleared it.

The National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme, a centrally sponsored programme, was launched in 2008. Its objective is to award scholarships to meritorious students from the economically weaker sections to curb dropouts from Class VIII and encourage them to continue studying at the secondary stage.

A scholarship of Rs 6,000 per annum (Rs 500 per month) is awarded to each selected student every year for pursuing education from Class IX to XII in government schools.

Declaring the results, Shahi said: “This year, not only there has been an increase in the number of students clearing the examination but more students had appeared in the test for this session.” For this session, 70,716 students had appeared for the test compared to 67,622 students for 2013 session.

In 2013, there was a jump of nearly double the number of students appearing for the test. In 2012, it was around 30,100 students.

Among the 4,231 students who have cleared the test, 3,334 are boys. Only 897 are girls. The State Council of Educational Research & Training (SCERT) conducted the examination under which only Class VIII students are eligible.

Pawan Kumar, a student of Sainik School, Nalanda, and Shivani Kumari of Middle School Barahaar, Bhojpur, ranked first in the boys and girls categories.

The education minister said the registration of high number of students and so many clearing the test showed there has been an improvement in the quality of education.

“The increase in number of students clearing the test was because of an increase in students’ attendance and quality education provided to them,” he said.

The minister’s statement assumes importance because even the annual status of education report (ASER), which was released in New Delhi on Wednesday, indicated an improvement in quality and quantity education in Bihar.

The ASER 2013 report indicated that the percentage of girls (age group 11-14) out of schools in Bihar has dropped from 17.6 per cent in 2006 to 4.6 per cent in 2013.

The ASER report also highlighted that the teachers’ attendance in primary schools (Class I to V) and upper primary schools has also improved, along with the children’s attendance.