How the poor and backward battle a skewed higher education system

Higher education, backward communities, SC, ST
Under the pre-Matric scheme, poor minority students receive aid in various school clasees | Illustration - Prathap Ravishankar

Kaushal Kumar, 24, a second-year MPhil student at a deemed university in Mumbai, runs the risk of discontinuing his studies. For, he has to pay ₹61,000 fees for this year and ₹25,000 dues of last year before August 31.

Although the university may give him some time and he can avail a concession of ₹4,000 available for the economically weaker section, he still has to pay the rest.

Hailing from a small village, Har Singh Pur in Etah, about 280 km from Uttar Pradesh’s capital, Lucknow, Kumar has come a long way in his career. In his village, higher studies are considered a waste of time, and not many study beyond class 12 or at the most graduation.

“After finishing graduation, many prepare for the police or army jobs. They do not aim higher, not because they lack ambition, but because of lack of information and financial constraints,” Kumar says. “They never think beyond graduation. People share newspapers in the village but it is common to miss out on university ads that appear in some corner of it.”

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