NEW DELHI: Buddy4Study India Foundation recently organized the first ever congress on the subject of scholarships – the Indo Global Scholarship Congress-2018 – a day-long conference that brought together on a single platform various stakeholders in the education sector to discuss the subject of scholarships and ideas for mutual co-operation.
The event, held at Dr. Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi, was supported by ONGC, LIC, SBI, IFCI, HPCL and AAI. The main objective of IGSC is to focus on key areas where all stakeholders can collaborate with one another to improve the education sector and to ensure scholarships reach the last mile beneficiaries.
Many dignitaries and eminent personalities in their respective domains attended the event and shared their perspectives regarding scholarships and education system in the country. Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Dr. Thawarchand Gehlot, was the Guest of honour and addressed the audience on the subject of scholarships.
“The subject of scholarships is an important one, and I can especially identify with it, raised in a humble background as I did,” the Hon’ble Minister said. The event was divided into four sessions with the first session dealing with the role of NGOs in spreading awareness about scholarships and ensuring that they reach the last mile beneficiaries.
Speaking at the event, Manasvi Singh, Director of Buddy4Study India Foundation, said “I believe that when all the stakeholders in the Indian education system come together, this goal (of getting scholarships to last mile beneficiaries) is anything but difficult. One step at a time, if all of us persist, we can effectively reach the last mile and together incorporate a system that keeps track of the progress of every student, ascertains the possibility of dropout and assists with a scholarship.
“With the help of scholarships,” he added, “we can not only reach out to the last mile students, we can empower them with the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the world, as Nelson Mandela said.”
IGSC is a first of its kind event organized by Buddy4Study India Foundation. The organization is already working in 101 aspirational districts identified by the Niti Aayog to spread information about scholarships and empower last mile students with scholarships. The event focused on bridging the existing gap between scholarship seekers and providers and how different stakeholders can come together on a common platform to devise new and innovative ways to curb dropouts.
Buddy4Study India Foundation acts as an extended arm for organization looking to channel their CSR spends in a more focused manner so that the results are visible and transformational. Located in Noida, the organization is playing a key role in taking scholarships to those who need them and offers application assistance wherever required.
More and more students are now inclined towards professional courses. After the initial schooling, those from the backward districts find it difficult to pursue quality courses. Towards this end, the AICTE under the aegis of the Government of India is taking many steps. Dr Manpreet Singh Manna, Director, AICTE, stressed upon the fact that India is one of the few countries offering completely free MOOCs through programs like SWAYAM and SWAYAM-PRABHA. He further highlighted the various other initiatives taken by AICTE to ensure that those who cannot afford to reach the hubs of education, can now look up to AICTE programs and schemes to continue getting quality education. “We are trying to invent a system where students who want to prepare for professional entrance exams are not required to relocate to places like Kota. AICTE is coming up with professional MOOCs that a student can enrol right from their hometown and that too free of cost”.
The other sessions focused on the role of CSR, creating opportunities through PPP, and the role of technology in covering the last mile. CEO of Niti Aayog, Amitabh Kant, was one of two keynote speakers at the event and vociferously advocated the use of technology in the field of education, while lauding lauded Buddy4Study’s efforts to connect students with available scholarships. Mr. Kant spoke about how Direct-benefit-transfers have helped scholarships reach the last mile beneficiary. “With the help of direct benefit transfer in around 433 schemes, the government has saved almost INR 83000 crores through the use of technology.”
“Direct benefit transfer has plugged leakages in the disbursement of scholarship funds”, Union Minister Gehlot stated as well.
In all, four sessions were organized to discuss various issues related to education and scholarship world. In his keynote address, Amarendra Khatua, former secretary, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said, “Availability of all scholarships in one single platform will make things easy for students to apply for students.”
Buddy4Study India Foundation Director and the key person behind the robust scholarship search engine, Manjeet Singh shared his take on how technology can act as a game-changer in the field of education. He emphasized on the fact the EdTech is already using AI and Machine Learning to bring about paradigm shifts in the way scholarships function.
Speaking at the event, he said, “With the IGSC, we have concentrated our efforts from the ground up so that we can reach out to those who are unable to reach out to us.”
“Reaching out to the last mile might seem like a crazy idea. But, with the help of technology, we can not only aim to achieve it, we can go way ahead than that”, he added.
A newsletter, prepared by Buddy4Study India Foundation, was also released during the occasion. The monthly newsletter will inform readers about the latest developments in the world of scholarships.
Among others who spoke during the occasion include, Divya Rajput, Project Director, South Asia Connect, American Center; Ranjan Rayna, Co-Founder and Chief Strategist at Cause Because; Jaideep Singh Kochhar, Economic Advisor, M/o Tribal Affairs; Major General Sunil Chandra VSM, Managing Director, Army Welfare Education Society; Shri Amjad Khan, International Boxer and Trainer; Ashu Agrawal, Director, Editorial and Business, BW Disrupt; Alok Kumar, Adviser , NITI Aayog; Prof Dr Priya Ranjan, President, Confederation of India Universities; Rachna Kodesia, International Education Consultant & President, Arya Bharat; HK Mittal, Adviser and Member Secretary, NSTEDB; Neeta Verma, Director General, National Informatics Centre; Dr. Manpreet Singh Manna, Director, AICTE.