KVPY Exam: Why govt scrapped aptitude test and merged fellowship scheme with INSPIRE?

According to sources, DST used to offer 250-300 KVYP fellowships each year and this number will be protected despite the scheme being merged with INSPIRE. “There is no stopping the fellowship, only the exam has stopped. Scholarships are still being offered, but under another programme,” said the DST official.

KVPY, established in 1999, aims to encourage students to study basic and natural science subjects at undergraduate and graduate level and to pursue research as a career by offering fellowships to interested and deserving students. An aptitude test for selecting deserving students was conducted by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and followed by an interview.

The sources said the decision to cancel the aptitude test, which is taken by approximately two students each year, was made at a “high-level meeting” held on June 1 to review the KVPY.

The officer noted that the review on June 1 showed that the operational cost of the exam was too high. “Taking the exam actually cost us more than the fellowships awarded. So we decided to leave the exam and use the money that was saved to award more scholarships. So in the future we will start awarding more than 300 of these fellowships.”

Last year, a case was filed in the Madurai High Court in which the applicant demanded that the test be taken not only in English and Hindi, but in Tamil as well. In its notes in the case, the Madurai High Court ordered the DST to take the test in all languages ​​prescribed under the constitution. According to officials, taking the exam in more languages ​​would have increased the operational cost of taking the exam. The exam was postponed twice last year, due to the guidance of the Madurai High Court.

“Anyway, while a large number of students were taking the exam, many did not choose the basic sciences afterwards. Students were using this exam nationally as rehearsals for IITs, for example. So the purpose of the exam was not fulfilled. The exam had to be stopped Earlier, but because INSPIRE (started in 2007) was still new, this was not done. There is no need for this exam, which will be a repetition of other exams that students take. So we decided to cancel the exam and include the scheme in INSPIRE.

Innovation in Inspirational Research Scientific Pursuit (or INSPIRE), with which KVPY is incorporated, is also managed and nurtured by DST and began in 2007. Like KVPY, it also aims to encourage students to pursue science by offering fellowships and scholarships. However, the government does not conduct a talent identification test for INSPIRE. It is based on the “effectiveness of the current educational structure”, which includes performance in Class 12 Board exams, entrance exams such as JEE (Major) and NEET and talent search tests such as NTSE.

In accordance with this “INSPIRE” philosophy, the government has decided to abolish the aptitude test for KVPY. “Deserved students who have performed well in other national entrance examinations including JEE (Main), NEET and characters in the top 10,000 are eligible for this fellowship now. The eligibility criteria will be the same for the Scholarships for Higher Education (or SHE) component under INSPIRE program. Students can check eligibility criteria online,” the officer said.

The fellowships and scholarships offered under the SHE component of the INSPIRE program are offered in two modes. In direct mode, students in the top 1% of the 12th term board exam can benefit from scholarships from the SHE component. In institute status, students enrolled in IITs, IISERs, and NIISERs, among others, can apply for the scholarship provided they are in the top 10,000 rating in the entrance test for which they qualified. The KVPY program that is included in INSPIRE will be offered by the institute’s status.

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