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Regional disparity tags US scholarships

April 16, 2008 03:19 IST

Recent reports released by United States Education Foundation in India say the eastern region of the country has the lowest number of Fulbright and Humphrey scholars in the country.

Eastern India also has the lowest number of applicants for the world-renowned research grant Fulbright Scholarship. The Fulbright programmes are for working professionals in India, students, researchers and teachers. The professionals pursuing the courses are provided stipend as well as accommodation in the US.

In the last eight years, the total number of Fulbright and Humphrey fellowships from the eastern region was 71 -- the lowest among all four regions. The highest number was 182 from the northern region, followed by 114 from the South and 92 from the West.

Each of the other three regions has consistently posted more than double the number of applications from the Eastern region over the last few years for the scholarship programmes. Last year, scholars from Bengal received eight Fulbright fellowships, while Delhi bagged 19.

According to Sunrit Mullick, regional officer and educational adviser, USEFI, the low numbers could be attributed to 'a singular lack of ambition' among people of eastern India. "People in Kolkata and the NorthEast seem to be satisfied with their careers," Mullick said.

"Lack of information is another reason. In many instances, when Fulbright brochures were sent out to various colleges and universities in the East they landed up at the principal's office.

But it has been found that often the principal's office does not bother to give the information to the students or put up the brochure for public view. So, many students do not even know when the scholarship was announced or when the deadline passed," he added.

Pradipta Mukherjee in Kolkata
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