We always see a heavy rush for admission to science courses at the Pre-University level with students and parents queuing up before colleges. But the same trend does not continue at the undergraduate level where there are very few takers for basic science courses.

Thanks to the mad craze for joining technical or medical courses at any cost, not only is the number of meritorious students aspiring to join basic science courses dwindling, even the scientific research and development activities have been left in a bad shape.

Educational institutes and academic bodies too made no serious effort to change this trend and encourage students to explore opportunities in the field of basic science.

However, some academic bodies have begun thinking seriously to change this trend. Taking a lead in this direction, Karnatak University Dharwad (KUD), a prominent seat of learning in the State, has come forward with a special scheme under which selected meritorious students joining basic science courses at the undergraduate level will earn dividends in the form of attractive scholarships.

100 scholarships

Under this scheme, which will be introduced from the coming academic year, KUD will offer 100 scholarships for select students wherein they receive a yearly scholarship of Rs. 10,000 for all three years. Selection will be on merit basis through a State-level eligibility test. Students from any part of the State can appear for the test.

KUD Vice-Chancellor H.B. Walikar told The Hindu that it is a first-of-its-kind scheme in the country by any university.

The selection test will be modelled on the lines of the Common Entrance Test (CET) being conducted for admission to technical and medical courses. Of the 100 scholarships per academic year, 50 will be given by the university and the remaining 50 by the managements of the affiliated colleges.

No strings attached

Selected candidates are free to seek admission in the college of their choice. “They are given a free hand in this regard and the university will not make it mandatory for the students to join any particular educational institute to receive the scholarship”, he said.

Mr. Walikar said the main objective of the scheme is to attract meritorious students to basic sciences. Once they are encouraged to join the undergraduate courses in basic science, they will naturally go for postgraduate courses.

Due to an acute shortage of postgraduates in the basic sciences, those joining these courses were getting good employment opportunities. Many basic science departments in the universities are witnessing cent per cent placement during campus selection with attractive pay packages, he said.

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