What Is The ICCR Scholarship Scheme?
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarship scheme is basically a merit based full scholarship scheme for that can get you to study at a university in India. It’s for both undergrad and post grad levels.
Of all the international scholarship schemes available for Zimbabweans this is the easiest one. The procedure is comparatively less cumbersome than other scholarship shemes.
Eligibility: You should have at least graduated from Advanced Level. There are generally no restrictions on either the number of A Level points or the field of study with the expection for Medicine(they don’t offer).
Now, here is what you need to do:
Step 1. Research.
I will make another blog post to tell you what life is really like in India and what challenges, if any, you’re likely to face.
Please don’t take this step for granted; if you gonna take up this commitment then you’ll need full disclosure first.
Step 2. Get Contact Details
If you have decided to do this then you need to know when the ICCR scholarship application process will be starting for the next academic year so here is what you do:
Visit two places when offices open in January- the Indian Embassy Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education offices. Express your interest to them. Exchange details with the receptionists and ask them to call you when they start taking applications. Oh, and carry you national I.D with you when you visit these two places.
Step 2. Follow Ups
You need to follow the Sunday Mail starting from January. Usually they publish an ad to invite applicants for this scholarship around March.
You also need call the Indian Embassy at least once every week to ask if they have started taking applications. Don’t call the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary offices; it’s the embassy that opens the application process first.
Step 3. Tough Call!
You can either apply through the relevant Ministry or directly through the Indian Embassy. Here’s the basic difference: Applying through the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education gives you the possibility of receiving a supplementary stipend
from the government.
I said possibility because it is exactly that; the Ministry rarely gives students stipend so it’s more like a privilege than a promise and I’m not sure if there are any terms about receiving this privilege so you’ll also need to ask the Ministry about that.
Also, if you apply through the relevant Ministry your application package will have to survive the vetting process by which only the best applicants will be selected.
You can avoid this and have better odds at getting the scholarship by applying directly through the Indian Embassy.
Step 4. The Application Process
As soon as the embassy opens the application process, go and collect the application form or the website from which to download.
Chose the universities you’d want to study at from the list they’ll give you. I’d advise that you ask someone studying here in India about this partly because the information online can be somewhat misleading.
Make sure you have these:
a) 2 testimonials or Reference letters from your former class teachers. Certified
Specify to your teachers that you need the testimonials for a scholarship not a job application.
b) Copy of birth certificate. Certified
c) Certified Copies of National I.D. or passport (a passport is not a necessity at this stage of application)
d) O’ Level and A Level certificates. You may use transcripts if certificates have not yet been issued. Certified
e) Detailed syllabi of all the subjects you did in High School. ( the one for English and Communication Skills isn’t necessary)
You should have at least 5 copies of each of all the above. I’d advice you to make 7.
Also, since you need so many certified copies of certificates you should consider going to the headmaster of your former school if it’s near or a police station commissioner. They’ll do this for free.
Step 5. The Wait
Firstly, if you don’t have a passport then apply for one as soon as you hand in your application. I couldn’t emphasize more on the need of a passport.
Secondly, after giving your application package you have to keep your phone line open because usually they’ll call you if they want you to correct something in your application documentation. Don’t change your phone number and give them an alternative number to use in case they are not able to reach you.
Furthermore, I’d advise you to make friends (better yet, you can advise your friends to apply with you) applying for the same scholarship scheme and tell them to contact you if they receive any call from the embassy and you ought to do the same for them. If any of your friends tells you that he received a call, don’t hesitate to contact the embassy and ask if there has been any developments about your application.
Furthermore, the scholarship will require you to carry about USD450 with you if you get accepted so you should have a plan about this. The money is just a jumpstart fund you’d use whilst you wait for your stipend to be processed. If you can’t have this, you can still apply for the scholarship. Just get as much money as you can. You’ll need an additional 50 dollars for a yellow fever test if you get accepted and that will be just about it on your part, every other expense will be handled.
Other Things You May Need To Know:
1. Indian Embassy In Harare.
No.12, Natal Road, Belgravia.
You need to take a commuter omnibus going to University of Zimbabwe or Mt. Pleasant and tell the marshal to drop you off in Natal Street. You may need to remind him several times in case he forgets. The embassy is just across the street from the drop off point.
2. The Ministry of Higher And Tertiary Education.
Bag CY 7732
Government Composite Building, Block F, 5th Floor
Cnr Samora Machel Avenue/ 4th Street, Harare
The offices are located in the city centre, “mutown”. You need to get to the 4th street and then just ask around.
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All the best!