P. Prabhakaran, 17, travelled 15 km by bus every day for years from Kuchukolathur village to Tindivanam to complete his schooling. Now, he has moved 130 km away from his hometown to pursue engineering.

Prabhakaran, whose father is a carpenter, is one of the 30 diploma students of Central Polytechnic (CPT), Taramani who received a scholarship of Rs. 10,000 for outstanding performance in academics from Kerala Catholic Society at a function on Sunday.

“I hope to finish this diploma, then work part-time and pursue engineering at SRM University simultaneously. That way, I can financially contribute to my family as well,” he said.

Kerala Catholic Society will offer financial assistance to 30 students of CPT who have scored 90 percent or more in their SSLC examinations and 75 per cent and above in the first semester examination of their diploma course, said T.V. Antony, of the Kerala Catholic Society.

“These students will get a scholarship of Rs. 10,000 each for all six semesters. This is on the condition that they continue to get 75 per cent and above in each semester, failing which the scholarship for that semester will go to another deserving candidate,” he said.

Speaking at the function, Kumar Jayant, commissioner of technical education, said that only sound practical knowledge in engineering could help students get a job. “Marks are not a true reflection of how much one knows. Students should have other skills including the ability to communicate and articulate well. Percentage of marks alone does not matter,” he said.

Another student, S. Harikrishnan, 15, wants to complete his diploma in mechanical engineering, finish his graduation from Anna University and work at Ford India. “I want to be part of a car manufacturing process some day,” he said.

Singer K.J. Yesudas distributed the scholarships to the students.

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