SAIIER 2019:Scholarship and Educational Fund

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SAIIER 2018-19
Scholarship and Educational Fund


The Scholarship and Educational Fund (SEF) was established in 2008 to provide financial assistance to Aurovilians who seek educational opportunities outside Auroville. Financial support is provided in the form of interest-free loans, repayable as soon as and to the extent the recipient has the financial capacity.

Activities of the year:

During the financial year of 2018-19, the SEF team met eight times.

44 Aurovilian students received loans, including a few student-specific grants.

The application form for financial support was changed in regard to expecting repayment of loans: now, repayment is expected as soon as within the financial capacity of the recipient, even if in very small installments.

In order to pursue repayment by beneficiaries, a young Aurovilian, herself a beneficiary of SEF support, was engaged as part-time secretary in the last quarter of the financial year.

Our fund-raising efforts for the SEF were successful: we secured generous support from CSR funds of an industrial corporate for the subsequent financial year.

Outcomes:

44 Aurovilians received financial assistance to pursue educational opportunities.

Six of the supported students at the tertiary level received assistance also thanks to specified contributions from individuals and Auroville business units. Five students at primary and secondary school level received support thanks to student-specific contributions.

Of the 39 students pursuing college or university level studies, 34 did so in India, and five studied abroad i.e. in Belgium, France, Germany and UK.

The study subjects included agriculture, anthropology & archaeology / world history, architecture, biomedical engineering, business administration, civil engineering, commerce, computer applications, dentistry, economics / political science & sociology, electronics & communication engineering, electronics for sound engineering, English language, environmental biology, fashion, forestry (Indian Forestry Service), geology, German language, biology – human ecology, mechanical engineering, nursing, physiotherapy, structural engineering in aeronautics, tourism & hospitality management.

Reflections:

Based on last year’s survey of early grant recipients, a drive for repayment has been initiated, as reported above. For the coming financial year this will need to be intensified so as to build up a significant corpus of a revolving fund.

We also plan to organize a meeting for the exchange of students of secondary grades in Auroville schools who yet have to decide about their tertiary studies and professional future, with some earlier SEF beneficiaries who have completed their studies and now work in Auroville. This is meant to share the experiences of the graduates working in services or business units, or those in search for employment, with those who have not yet made up their minds.

Conclusion:

In view of our expectation for the SEF to develop a large corpus of revolving funds that becomes independent of financial support from outside, efforts towards repayment will need to be further intensified. Further, our efforts towards exchange of information on study choices, college quality, job market, vocational training and skills and Auroville’s needs will need to enter a public forum of debate.