For needy Muslim students, a golden chance to study engineering

July 18th, 2008 - 11:39 am ICT by IANS  

By Azera Rahman
New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) It’s a novel idea that has helped 1,100 needy students - especially Muslims - from select Indian states get into engineering and paramedical institutes. And now this golden opportunity has come knocking on the doors of Delhi youths. Two hundred underprivileged students from Delhi, who have secured at least 50 percent marks in their Class 12 exam, will be listed for the initiative under which they can study at various institutes in Andhra Pradesh from this year.

It was Zaheeruddin Ali Khan of the Hyderabad-based Urdu daily Siasat who mooted the idea of helping poor students get admission to the institutes in Andhra Pradesh by paying a minimal fee.

“I noticed that a number of seats in the engineering and paramedic institutes of Andhra Pradesh were going vacant every year. That’s when I decided these seats could well go to economically challenged students from across the nation,” Khan told IANS on phone.

According to him, the engineering institutes in Andhra Pradesh have approximately 150,000 seats, of which a small number finds no takers each year.

This prompted Khan to talk to the officials of these institutes and ask them to admit poor students under the five percent quota which reserves seats for students from outside the state.

“We sought help from NGOs and other organisations in different states and asked them to send us a list of such needy and deserving students.

“Although this was mainly aimed at needy Muslim students who for the lack of opportunity end up being unemployed, we had no restrictions on applications from students from other communities.

“The initiative which we took four years back received a huge response. We had students from Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Bihar, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa, besides others, applying to the 34 engineering colleges in Andhra Pradesh.

“Since then we have been taking, on an average, 393 students every year,” Khan said.

The project was initiated mainly for engineering institutes but for the last two years, similar arrangements have been made with a few paramedic institutes as well.

With Delhi joining the league of places whose students can benefit from this programme, the total number of such states has gone up to 10.

Wadood Sajid of the Noble Education Foundation in Delhi which is drawing up the list of most deserving students for this programme said this year a total of 1,000 students will be selected, 200 of whom will be from the national capital.

“Admission to these engineering or paramedic institutes is not absolutely free of cost, but at a concessional fee which is nearly 50 percent less than what others have to pay. This makes a big difference to students who otherwise can’t afford such expensive education,” Sajid told IANS.

So, for instance, if the fee for a certificate course in electrocardiogram (ECG) is Rs.22,000, a student going through this foundation will have to pay just Rs.15,000.

“Not only that, students who have got 50 percent in their Class 12 exams are eligible to apply. A panel of experts will analyse the applications and choose the deserving candidates.”

Some of the courses that the students can opt for are diploma in cardiology and anaesthesia, B.Sc. nursing, medical lab technician, X-ray laboratory technician and physiotherapy technician.

In engineering, the branches available are computer science, mechanical, electronic communication, electronics and electrical, electronic instrumentation and automobile and civil engineering.

“We have started the registration process for Delhi. The admissions will be done in roughly one month,” Sajid said.

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