National Scholarship Scheme - Bharath Rashtra
Nirman Vidyarthi Nidhi
Education as a means of empowerment and enlightenment is the basic right of every child born on this planet. However, education remains an inaccessible right for millions of children around the world. Only less than half of India's children between the age 6 and 14 go to school. Only a little over one-third of all children who enroll in Grade one reach Grade eight. At least 35 million children aged 6 - 14 years do not attend school. 53% of girls in the age group of 5 to 9 years have no education.
Due to unaffordability and inaccessibility, one out of every eight students enrolled in a school or college tends to drop out midway without completing the education and over 62% of all dropouts happen at the school level, as per a survey conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) of the Government of India. With the onset of the pandemic, the educational scenario of the disadvantaged children of India had to face further difficulty, where access to technology to attend classes played a major role. Over 2.9 crore children in India don’t have access to digital devices, reveals government reports. These points out the disadvantage these students have had to face for over a year with schools shut due to COVID.
Commoditisation and commercialisation of a basic need like education has further worsened the divine between the haves and the have- nots, much against the ideals of ancient Indian Gurukulam system of education which was free and available to all children. Hence there is a need to act—the ones who have must give it to the ones who have-not. Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai, who walks in the footsteps of His master – Sri Sathya Sai Baba, under the aegis of Prashanthi Balamandira Trust is instituting a national scholarship scheme, in order to provide for those economically disadvantaged children who have been denied the affordability or accessibility to education.
The Prashanthi Balamandira Trust that currently operates the 26 Campuses of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Gurukulam Group of Institutions including its higher education wing – Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence, has pledged its energy, economy, and efficiency to do all its capacity to include many more children under the ambit of ‘Education’ – the fundamental right of every child!
While there are several merit or means based scholarship schemes for students at the higher education level, there is almost none at the primary foundational level of education. In this light, the Prashanthi Balamandira Trust led by Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai launches the BHARATH RASHTRA NIRMAN VIDYARTHI NIDHI.
Objectives of the Scheme:
To improve enrolment and quality of primary school education
To encourage students to complete their school education up to Grade 12
In order to commemorate this new noble beginning on the 23 November 2021 – the holy 96th Birthday Celebrations of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the scholarship scheme will cover the entire State of Karnataka to start with. 5,000 students, both boys and girls, from Grade 1 to 5, which is about 1,000 students per Grade will be selected for the scholarship for this academic year 2021-22 from various Government Schools. These students will continue to be given the scholarship until they finish their Grade 12.
The only criterion for selection for scholarship is their ‘NEED’ and not merit, means, gender, caste or religion. A pilot project has already started at the Chikkaballapur District of Karnataka State with the collaboration of Rashtriya Seva Bharati Organisation. Every child under the scholarship scheme will be linked to a volunteer from the Rashtriya Seva Bharati Organisation, to track their progress and holistic well-being.
The scholarship was launched by Dr Krishna Gopal, Joint General Secretary of Rashtriya Svayam Sevak Sangh on the 23 November 2021 morning, and it was personally handed over to about 120 children from the district of Chikkaballapur who attended the event with their parents.
Inclusivity of all children for education at the primary school level is an undeniable need and hence the BHARATH RASHTRA NIRMAN VIDYARTHI NIDHI targets every child from the age of five years, to be educated, thus building a stronger Bharath by empowering children through free education.