The prestigious Mahatma Gandhi Scholarships for 2016-17 were awarded to 150 Advanced Level school students from all 25 districts across Sri Lanka by Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, V. Radhakrishnan, State Minister of Education, Sri Lanka, and Taranjit Singh Sandhu, the High Commissioner of India, at a special ceremony at the Ministry of Education Auditorium, Battaramulla today.
The Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship, a merit-cum-means based Scholarship instituted in 2006-07 for Sri Lankan students, is awarded annually by the High Commission of India in cooperation with the Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka.
Recipients receive cash assistance during their two years of ‘A’ level studies. The High Commission of India has increased the scholarship amount from LKR 2,000/- to 2,500/- per month from 2015-16 onwards and accordingly; this year’s awardees will receive Rs. 30,000 annually during their two years of ‘A’ level studies.
The High Commissioner, while addressing the gathering, highlighted the importance of having closer interaction between the youth of both countries, various scholarship schemes Govt of India is offering to Sri Lankan students and the projects being carried out by Govt of India to assist Sri Lanka in the education sector.
He also spoke about the transformation that is taking place in India in the fields of Science and Technology, Agriculture, Space Research, Education and Health.
Minister of Education and State Minister of Education of Sri Lanka, in their speeches, recalled the robust Indo-Sri Lanka relationship and appreciated the Mahatma Gandhi scholarship scheme which has benefitted 1100 meritorious students since its inception in the year 2006. They also commended the other educational projects supported by Government of India.
150 students (six each from 25 districts) were selected in March/April 2017 by a joint selection committee comprising officials from the High Commission of India and the Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka, based on the performance of students in the ‘O’ level examinations and an interview.
Apart from this, the Government of India is providing opportunities to young Sri Lankans to study in reputed Indian Institutions of higher education through more than 270 scholarships per year, besides providing 370 short-term training slots every year to working professionals from Sri Lanka under ITEC programme.