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Tamil Nadu CM finds fault with CBSE’s Udaan scheme, seeks more contact centres

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CHENNAI: Alleging design flaws in the Centre’s Udaan scheme, Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to examine it and increase the number of contact centres in the state.

Udaan, the Central Board of Secondary Education’s new scheme, is to mentor girl students to prepare for admission to premier engineering colleges such as Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and National Institutes of Technology (NIT).

The plan is to admit 1,000 girl students from Class 11 and Class 12 of all boards of education on merit for special online and direct coaching.

The Udaan’s brochure reveals that Tamil Nadu will get two contact centres (in Coimbatore and Madurai), while Maharashtra will get 35 centres, followed by Madhya Pradesh (20), Gujarat (12) and Odisha (9).

Panneerselvam expressed surprise that the Centre had identified only two contact centres in the state, out of the 151 identified in the country.

Chennai does not have a contact centre, unlike other large metropolitan cities.

In a letter to Modi, the chief minister said, “Two centres in a large state with substantial girl student population in the science stream are very inadequate and this by itself would act as a dampener for participation by girl students.”

Apprehensions about having to travel long distances to attend contact classes might reduce response from eligible candidates. The move is also expected to deprive a large number of eligible girl students an opportunity to participate.

Panneerselvam said the eligible students may be allowed to opt for contact class centres at their respective district headquarters.

“I request you to extend the last date for applications for the programme to at least November 30 to enable eligible students from Tamil Nadu to apply for admission under the scheme,” he said.

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