: As a sequel to the Namakkal scandal in disbursal of scholarship to students in the middle of last year, the manual system of submission of applications by SC higher secondary students for post-matric scholarship will be dispensed with.

This will come into effect from the next academic year, a government official says, adding that only online submission of applications will be allowed.

(An official probe in Namakkal district revealed that 1,016 out of 2,700 applicants were found to be genuine. They had applied for a pre-matric scholarship scheme meant for children of those engaged in unclean occupation. As many as 79 officials including 77 headmasters of schools were suspended, of whom 67 headmasters have now been re-instated).

Approximately, two lakh SC higher secondary students in government, government-aided and unaided private schools are given the post-matric scholarship. Besides, four lakh students, pursuing higher education, are covered under the scheme, the official says.

At present, in respect of the students doing arts and science courses or professional courses, only online submission of applications is permitted.

Pointing out that a software programme is being developed for the school students the official says that the entire task of implementing the proposed steps will have to be done jointly by School Education and Adi-Dravidar Welfare Departments. In the aftermath of the Namakkal scandal, the School Education Department is impressing upon its officials the need for opening of bank accounts by students who receive scholarships.

According to official data, around 1.8 lakh higher secondary students in 3,288 schools have been sanctioned around Rs. 46.5 crore.