Education Minister M.A. Baby has said that majority of parents in the State are forcing their children to become either an engineer or a doctor aimed at increasing their value in the ‘marriage market.'

In his address after inaugurating the ‘nurture' scholarship programme and the first phase of the women's hostel on the main campus of the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit at Kalady here on Thursday, Mr. Baby termed this tendency among parents as ‘lopsided and obscene.'

Explaining that parents also wanted to make their children chartered accountants or civil servants, the Minister said that parents needed to be given education on how to identify the innate talent of their children. Children should be allowed to select courses of their choice, he said.

Nurture scheme

Explaining that the Higher Education Department's ‘nurture' scheme was initiated to encourage students to pursue programmes that would help in stepping up their creative skills, Mr. Baby said the programme was also part of the ‘inculcate' project. He said that select students of Class 8 were given an opportunity to receive practical training in laboratories in universities and colleges across the State, as part of the inculcate programme.

Pointing out that Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit was the nodal agency appointed by the government for implementing the nurture programme, Mr. Baby said the allocation for the scheme this year was Rs.20 lakh.

Students in government/aided high school and higher secondary levels and degree students in government/aided colleges and universities/deemed universities are eligible for the scholarship. The monthly scholarship is Rs.750.

A one-time grant of Rs.2,500 will also be given to purchase the study materials and other expenses.

Sixty students shortlisted for the first phase of the scheme received the scholarship from Mr. Baby, and Jose Thettayil, Minister for Transport.

Mr. Thettayil inaugurated the computerised examination wing of the university on the occasion.

Vice-Chancellor J. Prasad said in his presidential address that free software had been used for setting up the computerised examination wing of the university. Students could register for their examinations online using the new facility, he said.

Dr. Prasad said the government had sanctioned Rs.1 crore each for constructing three new hostels on the campus.

He requested the government to allocate more funds for setting up hostels while pointing out that the university had not been able to generate internal resources, as it was not offering any self-financing programmes on the campus.