Monday, 30th October 2017

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US study dream beckons Bihar

Bihar students aspiring to study abroad have reason to rejoice.

By Sanjeev Kumar Verma
  • Published 27.03.17
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Sharad Vivek Sagar (right) with Dexterity to College students

Bihar students aspiring to study abroad have reason to rejoice.

Tufts University in the United States has come up with a scholarship scheme meant exclusively for students from Bihar. The Boston varsity has pledged a special scholarship fund for students from Dexterity to College (D2C), a high school-to-college transition platform instituted in Bihar by Patna lad Sharad Vivek Sagar, who is a Tufts alumnus.

It costs around Rs 2.5 crore to pursue an undergraduate course at Tufts.

Sharad's non-profit organisation, Dexterity Global, offers this platform. Sharad was still in high school when he set up Dexterity in 2008.

Sharad, 24, who is chief executive officer at Dexterity Global, said students from families whose monthly income is less than $10,000 (Rs 6 lakh) per month would be eligible for the scholarship.

Asked how many students would be awarded the scholarship every year, Sharad said: "The number would not be fixed. It would depend on the performance of the students. If only one student meets the parameter for availing the scholarship, then it would go to him or her.

"But if more than one have the merit, the facility would be extended to all those who meet the parameters. It can also happen that if no student meets the parameter in a given year, the scholarship would be awarded to none."

Dexterity Global chief of staff Swaraj Priyadarshi, who is a sophomore at Tufts University, told The Telegraph over the phone from US on Sunday: "With the decision of Tufts University to provide scholarships to our D2C students, we can now claim to have joined the league of companies such as Reliance and Tata, which provide scholarship to students."

Reliance Industries Limited provides the Dhirubhai Ambani Scholarship at Stanford University in California, and the Tata Trust provides a scholarship at Cornell University in New York state for Indian students.

Tufts' senior vice-president for university advancement Eric Johnson congratulated Sharad for his efforts in an official mail.

"We are proud of your vision and achievements, and are pleased to assist Dexterity Global in accomplishing its mission... We look forward to working with you to bring talented students from India to Tufts University," read e-mail, which Swaraj shared.

Reacting to this gesture of his alma mater, Sharad said: "We cannot let the future of our children be decided by their family incomes or zip codes. The D2C Fund at Tufts is one giant leap towards ensuring this."

If the mentor is happy, his students are also excited about the offer from the American university.

One of them, Suman Saurabh, a Class XI student from Begusarai who is a D2C fellow, said: "What an amazing news! My dream of studying at a world-class university such as Tufts seems very achievable now."

In 2014-15, Dexterity Global instituted D2C in an effort to prepare more student-leaders and enable them to pursue education in world-class universities. D2C produced great results in the founding year itself.

In 2016, D2C fellows received admission offers from top colleges across the world, including the University of California, New York University, and Virginia Tech.

Aspirants for the Tufts University scholarship fund can avail of it from the upcoming application cycle that begins in August 2017.

Selected students will start their undergraduate education in September 2018.

When he was 13 years old, a home-schooled Sagar was determined to transform the ailing education system in Bihar.

He banded together with other like-minded teenagers in 2006 to launch his first non-profit, We Aim High, an organisation working with youth in a variety of fields including education, environment, human rights, policy and social change.

Now, his Dexterity Global is an internationally awarded social enterprise.

Sagar has also represented India in more than a dozen international conferences and competitions. In November last year, he attended the Nobel Prize ceremony on the invitation of a Norwegian telecom company.