Students applying for NOS barred from taking Indian culture courses | Mint
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Business News/ Education / News/  Students applying for NOS barred from taking Indian culture courses
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Students applying for NOS barred from taking Indian culture courses

The move will prevent students applying for the national overseas scholarship from pursuing humanities and social sciences courses related to Indian culture in foreign universities 

Candidates belonging to families with annual income of less than ₹8 lakh are eligible for the scheme. HTPremium
Candidates belonging to families with annual income of less than 8 lakh are eligible for the scheme. HT

NEW DELHI : The Centre’s move to prevent students applying for the national overseas scholarship (NOS) programme from pursuing humanities and social sciences courses related to Indian culture in foreign universities has attracted criticism from both 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 farm labourers, and traditional artisans, to pursue post-graduation or PhD courses abroad.

On Saturday, the ministry of social justice and empowerment revised the guidelines prohibiting the students from applying for courses related to Indian culture, heritage, history, and social studies in foreign universities. 

On Sunday, the government said the decision was based on the premise that such courses can be pursued in Indian universities for “more practical expertise", while the students can pursue “new-age topics" in foreign universities and bring back that knowledge to India.

Candidates belonging to families with annual income of less than 8 lakh are eligible for the scheme. The ministry added a mandatory clause to the guidelines for the scheme that said: “Topics/courses concerning Indian culture, heritage, history, social studies on India-based research topic shall not be covered under the NOS. The final decision as to which topic can be covered under such a category will rest with the selection-cum-screening committee of the NOS." 

Earlier, the scholarship was available for any field of study. 

“The government should steer clear of deciding on the choice of topics under NOS as it will adversely affect academic autonomy and critical studies on different kinds of discriminations and faultlines in Indian society. Education policies and intellectual pursuits should reflect the needs of the society, not the whims and fancies of the ruling elite or dominant ideology of the day," said Maya John, assistant professor of History at Delhi University.  “NOS was started by PM Nehru in the 1950s to promote educational opportunity among marginalized students in India. An insecure BJP govt has now revised guidelines to exclude research in history, social sciences, cultural studies, earlier covered," Congress MP from Assam Pradyut Bordoloi tweeted. “This reflects the anxieties of a regime scared of independent-thinking students and critical scholarship that may challenge its ideology. This method of stifling research is a troubling sign that must concern us all."

Delhi University professor Apoorvanand said in a Twitter post: “The RSS-backed government wants to keep people from SC/ST community under its intellectual/Brahamanical domination. To do that it is trying to keep them away from the international scholarship."

The ministry said the topics can be pursued in top Indian institutes and central universities to get “more practical expertise and knowledge by learning and studying from Indian professors who would have more experience and practical knowledge about the subject than their counterparts in foreign Universities."

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Published: 21 Feb 2022, 01:53 AM IST
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