Mumbai: The Maharashtra State Board of Education, Pune is facing criticism over the non-disbursement of funds for the East Higher Primary Scholarships for 5th and 8th standard held in February 2020. Despite the state board's announcement that funding would be allocated, the delay in awarding scholarships for the past three years has left several parents frustrated.
Furthermore, the results for MSCE scholarship for 5th and 8th class, which were held on February 16, 2020 across the state, were announced after a seven-month wait on October 9, 2020, adding to the resentment among parents.
Parents of several students ranged in the concerns they voiced to the board over the wait times for disbursements of the scholarship funds.
"The students had high hopes and expectations for this scholarship, but this doesn't seem to be the reality yet," said Shilpa Makarand, mother of Samruddhi Makarand, one of the scholarship awardees.
Shilpa claims that despite the results being revealed in October 2020, her daughter, a student at Sharon English High School in Mulund, had received the scholarship certificate barely two months ago this year, and that too in an online format.
"Samruddhi received the scholarship certificate only two months ago, and we had no idea who to contact to inquire about the funds. However, I've mailed my concerns to the official authorities of the board and am attempting to directly contact a few officials regarding my complaints," Shilpa added.
The scholarship examination, which assesses foundational learning and numeracy among school students studying in classes 5 and 8, drew around 55000 applicants from across the state for the 2020 MSCE scholaship examination.
"When we applied for the scholarship back in 2020, instructions were given to us parents to open minor accounts in banks where the scholarship funds could be deposited," says Namita Deo, mother of another scholarship winner.
“Despite the fact that the account has been active for three years, we have yet to receive any funds,” adds Namita.
Namita’s son, who is enrolled in the same school as Samruddhi, says, “I have emailed an official complaint to the Maharashtra State Council of Examination.”
While the non-timely transfer of scholarship funds is raising questions on the board's commitment to the welfare of students, The Free Press Journal reached out to Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) authorities for a response.
According to Anuradha Oak, the state board secretary, there are relatively few cases of students who have not yet received their scholarship funds.
"We have received complaints from a few students whose scholarship funds have not been processed as of yet. While investigating the cause of this the board discovered that the account numbers of students registered on the website were incorrect. However, we have sent a circular to the students' respective schools seeking the right account information."
"Pending scholarships will be cleared as soon as the correct account details are received," she said.