Reality TV Shows making dreams come true

April 7th, 2007

Reality TV shows are extremely popular in India

It all started with the “Baap of all the daily tv shows” Big Boss. Now its the fight for some of Britain’s top universities.  Thousands of Indian students are set to compete for scholarships at some of Britain’s top universities in a TV reality show. The top 400 candidates will be whittled down to a shortlist of 20 who will compete against each other in a series of tests, tasks and quizzes. The prizes in Scholar Hunt: destination UK, are scholarships worth up to £80,000, not 15 minutes of fame. The programme will be shown on BSkyB as well as across the Indian subcontinent. The would-be students will be competing for five scholarships in various subjects at the universities of Leeds, Sheffield, Warwick, Cardiff or Middlesex which would pay their fees and living costs. But before they can enter, all the contestants will be screened to ensure they meet the universities’ strict academic requirements. And the tests, quizzes and competitive tasks they will be shown completing are being devised by university academics. The scholarships are being funded and offered by the universities themselves, while the programme is being sponsored by Indian mobile phone firm Airtel.

From the makers….
Producer for programme makers New Delhi TV Arun Thapar said: “Our aim is to mix academic excellence and the competitive spirit to create an intelligent thought-provoking show. 

“The Airtel Scholar Hunt will tap into the growing aspiration among Indians to study overseas and will be exactly the kind of programme that suits NDTV’s well-informed audience: modern, aspiring Indians, with an expanded world view and the ambition to make the most of their lives.”

The University of Leeds is offering an undergraduate place on a management course at its business school. Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Arthur said his university had strong links with India as it was one of the first to open an office there in 1999.  “This scholarship and the novel way it’s being run, will help Leeds raise its profile further in India and show potential students just how much the university has to offer,” he said.

A spokesman for Warwick University, which is offering a four-year scholarship in engineering, said it had decided to take part in the programme because India was a major market place which the university was constantly trying new ways to reach.

He said: “Reality TV programmes are extremely popular in India – even more so than here. We were approached by NDTV and it seemed an exciting project.

“This is an opportunity to give reality TV more integrity, it’s an opportunity for reality TV to raise its game.” Sheffield’s acting head of Biomedical Science Professor Matthew Holley, who is helping devise tests for the scholarship being offered within his department, said universities operated within a global market.

“We recognise the substantial talent and dedication of young people in India.

“The scholarship programme will provide a very exciting opportunity for the department to build much stronger collaborative links with India and should bring substantial mutual benefits in both teaching and research.”


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