Students at a school in Jamnagar. Photo: Tarushi Aswani

Gandhinagar: On November 25, 2022, the Union government decided to cancel the pre-matric scholarships for students from class 1 to 8 belonging to minority communities from the academic year 2022-23.

In its widely criticised move, the government restricted the pre-matric scholarship scheme meant for minority communities to only include students of classes 9 and 10. The government justified its stand by saying that the Right to Education Act (RTE Act) covers compulsory education up to class 8 for all students.

The decision drew fierce flak from scholars, activists and political parties, with the Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party government of revoking rights of the poor.

For Chohan Isha, a student of class 7 from Modasa, the cancelled scholarship means her dream of becoming a teacher is going dark. “My father is a driver and earns Rs 6,000 a month. The scholarship was helping us study, without being a burden on him,” explained Isha, whose brother is in class 5 and was also benefitting from the scholarship.

Struggling to study

Amid the chaos created because of the cancellation of pre-matric scholarships, the Union government also withdrew the Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF). The MANF was launched by the earlier United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre in an effort to implement the recommendations of the Sachar Committee.

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