One hundred Sri Lankan students were awarded Mahatma Gandhi Scholarships yesterday at a function organized by the High Commission of India in Colombo. These students were selected from all 25 districts on the criteria of merit-cum-means based on their performance at the GCE ‘O’ Level examinations 2007 as well as interviews jointly conducted by the High Commission of India Colombo and the Ministry of Higher Education. The selected scholars will receive financial assistance of Rs.1,500 per month for a period of two years to enable them to successfully pursue their ‘A” Level courses.
The Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship programme, which was instituted last year, will continue in future, and every year 100 or more Sri Lankan students will be selected from all the districts of the country for the award of scholarships in the name of Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian High Commission said. Depending on their performance, some of these students could also be selected for ICCR scholarships for various undergraduate and post-graduate courses. At present the Government of India, through the High Commission of India, awards 75 scholarships to Sri Lankan nationals for pursuing undergraduate and post-graduate courses in various reputed institutes and universities in India. The High Commission of India also awards five Commonwealth scholarships for research and higher studies and three Cultural Exchange programme scholarships again for research and higher studies. The Government of India also offers two scholarships and one fellowship through the SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu to Sri Lankan students and a SAARC chair on rotational basis to member countries of SAARC, which comes to Sri Lanka every sixth year. The Government of India also extends short term training facilities for Sri Lankan professionals in the Government as well as the corporate sector under the ITEC and SCAAP programmes and the Indian Cultural Centre, Colombo awards nearly 12 scholarships for Sri Lankan students to pursue studies in the fine arts etc.