Education Minister P.K. Abdu Rabb launched ‘STEP' project aimed at identifying talented students from the minority community and preparing them for competitive examinations, including the Civil Services examinations, here on Saturday. The project is implemented by Trend, the education wing of the Samastha Kerala Sunni Students' Federation (SKSSF) .

As many as 136 students, selected from across the State, along with their family members attended the launch ceremony. The selected students will be given a series of special training programmes during a span of five years. “Around 60 selected students from this group will be given special training so as to enable them to appear for the Civil Services preliminary examination after three years,” said Shamsudheen Ozhukur, one of the organisers of the programme.

Launching the project, Mr. Rabb said that though Kerala was a model for other States in many respects, the higher education scenario was not satisfactory. “We hope that small initiatives from different quarters like the one introduced by the SKSSF would help to bring about some positive changes in this regard,” he said. Maintaining that the State government had recently introduced some ambitious steps with the aim of increasing the number of candidates clearing the Civil Services examinations from the State, the Education Minister said that the Civil Service Academy in Thiruvananthapuram was an example.

Emphasising the need for improving the quality of higher education in the State, Mr. Rabb said that only the best would make the cut in a highly competitive higher education scenario. “The increasing level of competition warrants us to give increased stress on improving the quality of our education,” he said.

State president of SKSSF Sayyed Abbas Ali Shihab Thangal presided over the function.

Ther Minister said that the government had decided to take the necessary steps to conduct the engineering and medical entrance examinations on time so as to avoid the “flow of Keralite students” to other States for professional education.