National Talent Search Exam


National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) is a national-level scholarship program in India to identify and recognize students with high intellect and academic talent. It is one of the most prestigious exams in India. Close to 15,00,000 students appear in this scholarship exam every year, and 1,000 scholarships are awarded. The scheme is open to students of Indian nationality. Students studying in Class X only are eligible to appear for the selection process. As it is organized by an official body NCERT (National Council of Educational Research & Training), it is widely regarded by the Government of India as the toughest and most prestigious examination at high school level in the country.

Brief history:

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is established by the Government of India in the year 1961 with a view to bringing about qualitative improvement in school education in the country. National Talent Search Scheme is a flagship activity of the NCERT started in the year 1963. The purpose of the scheme is to identify talented students and nurture their talent. Talent refers to the potentiality that manifests itself in a high level of performance in one or more specialized areas. Since the education system in the country had undergone changes, the National Talent Search Scheme (NTSS) has also been accordingly changed. NCERT has formed National Talent Search Scheme Cell on 14.02.2014, which  is part of the Educational Survey Division (ESD) and is looking after all the work related to National Talent Search. From the year 2012-13 NTSE is conducted for Class X students studying in recognized schools. There is no domicile restriction.

In 1964, the scheme was extended to all the states and the union territories in the country with 350 scholarships for the students of Class XI. Those scholarships were awarded on the basis of a written examination, a project report and an interview. The written examination comprised the Science Aptitude Test and an essay on a given scientific theme. The candidates were to submit the project report at the time of the written examination. A stipulated number of candidates selected on the basis of those three components were then subjected to personal interviews. The performance of the candidates on those four components was eventually employed for the purpose of awarding scholarships. Those scholarships were awarded for pursuing education only in basic sciences up to doctoral level.

The number of scholarships was again enhanced from 500 to 550 in 1981. Those 50 scholarships were exclusively meant for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) candidates. The number of scholarships was once again escalated to 750 in 1983 with a provision of 70 scholarships especially for SC and ST candidates. That arrangement continued until the scheme was decentralized in 1985. Yet another change in the scheme was effected from 2000 wherein the number of scholarships was raised from 750 to 1000 with the provision of reservation for SC and ST candidates based on the national norms of 15% and 7.5% respectively.

The scheme was partially decentralized in 1985 and was confined to only class X. Under the new arrangement, the selection of candidates for the awards became a two-tier process. The states and the union territories have been entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the first tier screening examination known as State Level Talent Search Examination. Each state and union territory selects and recommended a stipulated number (state quota) of candidates for the national level examination to be conducted for about 3000 candidates by the NCERT.