The Odisha government led by Naveen Patnaik introduced the 'Chhatra Protsahan Yojana,' a scheme to provide free coaching for medical and engineering entrance examinations to ST and SC students in the state.
The state government's ST and SC Development Department will open seven 'Centres of Excellence' in SC and ST schools across the state, providing free education to 320 such students each year, as reported by Kalinga TV.
The programme was created to meet the needs of students living in deep tribal pockets who are unable to fulfill their full potential due to a lack of access to better coaching possibilities.
Higher secondary school children will be encouraged to pursue higher education by the centres. According to the government, its primary goal is to identify and foster promising ST/SC students for higher study in medical and engineering fields from an early age.
Criteria For Selecting Candidates
Students will be chosen among those who have passed matric from SSD High Schools based on their Std X merit and a selection test.
The department currently operates 62 higher secondary schools in 14 districts. The Annual Higher Secondary School Examination attracts almost 30.000 ST/SC students each year.
The coaching agencies chosen for this programme have signed Memorandums of Understanding.
The selected ST/SC students at the envisaged Centres of Excellence will receive on-site medical and engineering mentoring and preparatory training from these agencies.
Dr Amar Patnaik, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), handed over 200 tablets from the MPLAD funding for the students through the programme during the event held to begin the scheme.