Free Vocational Courses Education Scheme for Girls in Maharashtra

Girls from OBC, EWS, and Socially Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) with annual family income below ₹8 lakhs will benefit from this scheme.
Image for representational purpose
Image for representational purpose

Pune: In an effort to encourage education among girls in Maharashtra, the state's Higher and Technical Education Department has introduced a free education scheme.

This initiative targets daughters of parents with an annual income of eight lakhs rupees or less. However, the scheme is exclusively available for vocational courses, excluding traditional streams like arts, commerce, and science.

The government has issued an official resolution detailing the scheme. Girls from Other Backward Classes (OBC), Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) with an annual family income below eight lakhs rupees will benefit from this scheme.

These students will receive 100 per cent coverage of their tuition and exam fees starting from the academic year 2024-25. The scheme is applicable to students admitted through the centralized admission process in government, government-aided, partially aided, and permanently unaided colleges, technical institutes, public universities, and government-deemed universities under the relevant state departments.

The decision aims to increase the enrollment of girls in vocational courses, which currently stands at 36 per cent, aligning with the goals of the National Education Policy 2020.

The Maharashtra state cabinet approved the scheme in a meeting on July 5, aiming to provide broader educational opportunities and empower women by ensuring they are not deprived of vocational education due to financial constraints.

It's important to note that this scheme does not apply to girls studying in private or self-financed universities and is strictly limited to vocational courses. Consequently, girls enrolled in traditional arts, commerce, and science courses will not be eligible for these benefits.

Additionally, the scheme extends to orphaned children included in the categories specified by the Women and Child Development Department. These provisions ensure that institutional and non-institutional orphaned children also benefit from the scheme.

For those availing benefits under the EWS quota, the scheme mandates an income certificate based on the combined income of both parents, instead of just the EWS certificate.

Students who secure admission under the EWS reservation and receive benefits in the first year will continue to enjoy the concessions throughout their course without the need for annual income certificate submissions. Similar provisions apply to orphaned children.

This comprehensive approach ensures that eligible girls receive the necessary financial support to pursue vocational education, contributing to their empowerment and the state's educational objectives.

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