'Spent Time Calculating Money for Education': An 'Unaffordable' Dream That Forced LSR Student to End Her Life
Image for representation.
The idea of spending Rs 15,000 every month after losing a hostel room was weighing on Aishwarya Reddy's mind. She started to take herself as the burden in the family. Aspiring to be an IAS, she was spending time in calculating money that would go to fund her dream.
- Last Updated: November 09, 2020, 16:34 IST
- FOLLOW US ON:
Telangana state topper, Aishwarya Reddy, the second year Mathematics student received a notification from her college Lady Shri Ram College for Women informing that by September 31 she must vacate the hostel. The administration had suddenly decided to revoke hostel facilities for all students except freshers.
She was home in Rangareddy district for the past eight months, since the closure of educational institutions, and the new notification left her disheartened. She had started poking fun at her own dreams, telling relatives in amusement, “Maybe I should return to a local college in Telangana”.
The idea of spending Rs 15,000 every month after losing a hostel room was weighing on her mind. She started to take herself as the burden in the family. Aspiring to be an IAS, she was spending time in calculating money that would go to fund her dream. Discussion on how to make things work with financial problems became a part of the daily routine.
Her mother Sunitha Reddy said in a press conference organized by SFI, “After the new notification she asked us if we could arrange Rs 40,000 to find a new PG, complete all formalities and return. But there was no question of arranging money as there is no income during the lockdown. We could not finance her travel to Delhi and back.”
She added, “The thought of spending Rs 15,000 every month on PG was gnawing her. We are already in debts and have taken loans we could not have afforded it. She kept thinking that if she dropped out she would become a laughing stock.”
The family wished that the disbursal of her scholarship could have been done, if not complete 80,000 amount then some of it so that she could buy herself a laptop and study. The Committee for Inclusive Education under LSR students’ union had conducted a survey under which she said that she does not have proper internet connection and laptop for online classes, and could not spend on data packs for digital education. “She was our pride. The first to go to Delhi for higher studies from our community, everybody looked up to her,” said Sunitha Reddy.
She had qualified for the INSPIRE Fellowship, which was delayed, and according to the statement by LSR Students’ Union general secretary, “As a student of BSc in Mathematics, she had qualified for the INSPIRE Fellowship offered by DST whose first instalment she was supposed to receive in March. It is apparent from her letter that she did not receive it due to the pandemic. It was allegedly conveyed to her that the scholarship amount could only come after the conclusion of the second year.”
News18.com spoke to Ashutosh Sharma, secretary Department of Science and Technology, who said, “There is no backlog in INSPIRE Fellowship.” He said that Aishwarya was made a provisional offer in August 2020 and the offer requires one to upload a mark sheet for first year and bank details for direct transfer. This is to be done by December. The candidate is provisionally eligible if he/she has 60% marks and upload documents by December, a standard procedure to be followed by all.
There are about 50,000 scholarships in INSPIRE. The INSPIRE Fellowship is released once a year, in fact for the first year it is released for fifteen months and second installment is released when the college submits papers, saying the student is still there and getting the threshold marks. “As soon as we receive the papers from college, within one month the fellowship is released. There is no pendency. Not even in these times and must be supported fully,” he added.
The student leaders present in the press conference appealed that this case should not be seen in isolation and the government must address the issues arising from digital disparity in education.