‘People in eastern India lack awareness about US scholarships’

March 20th, 2009 - 11:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, March 20 (IANS) Most people in eastern India are unaware of the existing US scholarships, and hence they are lagging behind the rest of the country in terms of getting grants, a US education official said Friday.
“Eastern India is lagging behind compared to the rest of the country in terms of applying for scholarships to US…and this is not because, it lacks merit, but due to unawareness,” Sunrit Mullick, regional officer of United States-India Educational Foundation (USEFI), Kolkata, told reporters at a press conference at American Center here.

“To solve this problem, we are stressing to promote ‘Fulbright-Jawaharlal Nehru Scholarships and Grants’ in this part of India, including West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Manipur,” he added.

Mullick said, as per the new agreement of the Fulbright Scholarships signed by US Ambassador David C. Mulford and India’s Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon on July 4, 2008, both countries are implementing the programme as full partners.

“That means, now more students from India can apply for this scholarship every year. In fact, the number of students going to the US has been almost doubled,” he said, noting that there were only 16 students from the eastern region out of the 113 students selected for scholarship across India for the year 2009-10.

He attributed this to lack of dissemination among students of eastern India.

“People of some parts of Bihar, Jharkhand and even West Bengal don’t even have access to websites…they don’t know what are the scholarships available to them, how to apply and most importantly, what exactly to write in the application form.”

To promote the US scholarships, Mullick said they will take the help of the alumni.

“We have divided the eastern region into three chapters - West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Our scholars, who have already got through the scholarship programme, will be in-charge of the three chapters,” he said, adding the alumni will promote the programme in their respective chapters by interactive sessions with students and also help interested candidates to fill up the forms and write proposals.

The Fulbright Scholarship Programme - the flagship international educational exchange programme for students, research scholars and professional, by the US government, was introduced in 1946. Till date, it is operational in 155 countries and over 16,800 fellowships have been registered so far. The programme started in India in 1950.

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