“Tech Mahindra’s social work is currently focused upon three areas – School Education, Employability and Technical Education. Of these, the initiatives under first two verticals are directly managed by the Foundation, and those under the last one are carried out through Mahindra Educational Institutions (MEI). In the current year, 2015-16, the Foundation is running 150+ projects at 10 locations in 9 states/union-territories of India.”
The Foundation’s work in school education focuses upon three thematic areas: school improvement, teacher empowerment and learning enrichment. The programmes are run in two modes — directly im-plemented through the Foundation and with partner organisations. The key initiatives include:
1. ARISE or All Round Improvement in School Education: these are long-term school improvement programmes, run in partnership with local governments, and expert partner organisations. This year, the Foundation has adopted 64 schools across India and is working with 18 partners to turn them around completely into model schools of excellence. The ARISE programme builds upon four dimensions of a school — academic, social, organizational and infrastructural. ARISE+ is a special programme which encompasses initiatives for children with disabilities.
2. Shikshaantar, or creating a difference to education, describes the Foundations teacher empowerment and system enhancement programmes. This includes its work through the In-Service Teacher Education Institute (ITEI) and a model school at East Delhi Munici-pal Corporation (EDMC). This year, the programme is targeting ca-pacity enhancement of 1500 teachers, 400 school heads and 70 education functionaries across East Delhi Municipal Corporation’s primary schooling system, and training of 120 master trainers and 5000 teachers. The programme works with EDMC and various national/state-level technical resource agencies.
The five-year Cambridge English programme with Chennai Municipal Corporation will build capacities skills of 250 teachers, on language and pedagogy and build a sustainable and cost-effective net-work for English language teacher development. Likewise, teachers of 100 balwadis running in Municipal Corporation Schools of Mumbai, and those in 25 primary/pre-primary schools under Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation in Pune are getting trained in early childhood care and education under the programme.
Another aspect of Shikshaantar is felicitating outstanding teachers of municipal schools of Delhi through the Foundation’s flagship Shikshak Samman Award programme. In total, there are 8 projects under Shikshaantar, which are being run at Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Pune.
3. Shiksha Samvardhan, or the education enrichment programme – is a thematic intervention around the learning enhancement initiatives of the Foundation, towards making learning interesting, child-centred and activity-based to reduce cumulative burden of non-learning and to promote grade-appropriate competencies. The pro-gramme largely works with children who remain or have fallen out of the safety net of the education system.
The various thematic categories include creating learning centres for education, remediation and bridge programmes, life skills and sports for development, ICT-enabled education services, early child-hood care and education, and after-school support programmes. The Foundation runs 12 projects under Shiksha Samwardhan.
SMART or Skills for Market Training is the Foundation’s flagship programme in employability, which is built on the vision of an educated, enlightened and employed India, and a belief that educated and skilled youth are the country’s true strength. The programme started with 3 Centres in 2012 and is cur-rently running 65 Centres at 10 locations across India. These include SMART Centres, SMART+ Centres (training for people with disabilities), SMART-T Centres (training in technical trades) and the SMART Academy. The SMART Academy is the next level of the programme, which will be a state-of-the-art centre imparting high-quality vocational skills training, with a blend of classroom, practical and on-the-job training. The Academy will closely engage with the industry stalwarts for constant curriculum up-gradation and placement. It will train more than 1000 youth and make them employable in higher paying jobs in the organised sector. The Foundation has also undertaken a research project in vocational education and training (RiVET) along with the National Skill Development Authority (NSDA), to understand the overall scope of skill development in India.
Youth from disadvantaged urban communities and in im-mediate need of jobs are the beneficiary group of SMART. The training starts with a Foundation course comprising of Spoken English, Workplace Readiness and Basic IT/Computers. It offers a range of specialized courses, including Customer Relationships and Sales, Hospitality, IT-Enabled Services and BPO, Lab Assistant, Multimedia, Nurse Aides, Office Administration, Pharmacy Assistant, Quick Service Restaurants and Tally. In addition, the SMART-T offers training in technical trades like Automobile Technician, Civil Works, Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Machine Technician, AC and Refrigeration, Electrician, Fitter and Maintenance Technician and Welding.
The Foundation’s higher education programme is carried out under Mahindra Educational Institutions (MEI), through Mahindra Ecole Centrale (MEC) in Hyderabad. Established by the Mahindra Group, in collaboration with École Centrale Paris - a 200 year old leading French University, and JNTU Hyderabad, a premier technological university, MEC is an international quality, technology school with assured career progression for engineering aspirants. Key aspects of education at MEC are the focus on multi-disciplinary knowledge, personality development, and critical-creative thinking. Mahindra École Centrale (MEC) College of Engineering, heralds the Rise of the New Engineer in India.