Students from Bihar fail to qualify for Japanese scholarship
Students from Bihar have failed to make the cut among 100 shortlisted from other Indian universities for the prestigious MEXT scholarship, offered by the government of Japan.
The MEXT scholarship for foreign students, generally from the US, European and Asian countries, allows undergraduate, masters and PhD students a monthly stipend between US $1,400 and $1,600, up to a maximum of five years, to pursue higher studies in science, humanities and culture in Japan.
“None of the 12 students from universities of Bihar qualified out of the 2,045 applicants for the Japanese scholarship this year from India,” said selection panel member Prof Sangeeta Sinha, a MEXT fellow (1999-2001) in post-doctorate programme, and professor, post-graduate department of physics, Babasheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar Bihar University, Muzaffarpur. Having taken lien from BRABU, she was also a professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (2004-05) and chairperson of Japan-based International Desert Council (2015-18).
Among the aspirants from Bihar, she said, were students of the IIT-Patna, ranked 54th in the overall India rankings 2020, released by the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF), a body approved by the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) that outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country.
The IIT-Patna is the only educational institution from Bihar to figure in the NIRF top-100 overall ranking of institutions in India last year.
“Despite good grades, we felt students from Bihar were into rote learning, having theoretical knowledge, with little practical application. Even their proposal, in which students had to indicate why they were interested in the scholarship, was not up to the mark as compared to those from the southern universities, the IITs, BHU, besides institutions from West Bengal and Assam,” said Prof Sinha.
Given the coronavirus pandemic, experts did not fly from Japan to interview the shortlisted applicants for the scholarship. Instead, the Japan government roped in experts from the Indian Japanese Society for Promotion of Science to screen the proposals and shortlist the candidates.
Prof Sinha recently, received a letter of appreciation from Yasuhiro Yonehara, first secretary (education), embassy of Japan in New Delhi, acknowledging her support in the selection process of the MEXT research scholarships, 2021.
In the letter, dated January 28, Yonehara expressed gratitude for screening and evaluation of study and research proposals, submitted by the aspirants of MEXT research scholarship 2021. “…this has immensely helped us not only in conducting the selection process smoothly but also in identifying academically superior candidates who truly deserve the MEXT scholarships,” the Japanese embassy official said in his letter.