Close to the heels of International Literacy Day - Vedanta Limited has extended its support to the Indian Government’s marquee literacy & education initiatives across the country. Addressing the current challenges through innovative solutions to further boost literacy, the company has worked towards child and adult education, vocational education as well as computer literacy.
Vedanta’s work with children’s education is targeted at the pre-school level, particularly through its Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). ICDS is a centrally sponsored scheme of the Government of India aimed at providing services to pre-school children in rural, tribal and slum areas in an integrated manner so as to ensure their proper growth and development. Under the Vedanta Bal Chetna Anganwadi (VBCA) programme, Vedanta runs over 3,100 Anganwadis in partnership with the Indian government across several parts of India. In FY 2015-2016, about 71,000 children availed preschool level education in these child care centres. To provide access to higher education, Vedanta runs 16 schools and colleges. Over 211,000 students studied in these schools in FY 2015-2016.
“Education is at the heart of sustainable development. As a signatory to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Vedanta is committed to improve the lives of communities across its operations through education. With a special focus on women and youth empowerment, our initiatives are designed to eradicate illiteracy as well as enable the students to pursue a vocation or further education”, says Roma Balwani, President, Group Communications & Sustainable Development, Vedanta.
Vedanta has joined hands with the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), to develop and modernise the Anganwadi infrastructure in the country. Under Vedanta’s ‘Nand Ghar’ initiative, 4000 anganwadis will be completed in three years, with over 400,000 children and women beneficiaries. These centres will act as a focal area for immunisation, gender sensitisation and maternal care. It also aims to enhance the learning environment through an e-learning module and skill enhancement program for women. ‘Building as a Learning Aid’ a concept piloted by UNICEF, which will feature learning concepts embedded within the structure, will attempt to increase attendance of children. In addition, the Centre will be equipped with solar panels, TV, toilets and water supply.
At Sterlite Copper, a subsidiary of Vedanta Limited, in Tuticorin, Vedanta’s girl child education programme ‘Ilam Mottukal’ is working towards ensuring education for 8,030 children from 83 Government & Government Aided Primary and Middle Schools in Thoothukudi District this year. The programme aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao Abhiyan’, and is aimed at achieving 100% literacy amongst the girl children. Sterlite Copper recently inaugurated the fifth successful year of this project.
Sesa Goa Iron Ore, Vedanta’s business in Goa and Vedanta Foundation, in collaboration with the Directorate of Education, Government of Goa, launched a pilot project in August to promote digital education in schools across the state. The Honourable Chief Minister of Goa, Shri. Laxmikant Parsekar, who also holds the portfolio of Education Minister, launched ‘The Smart Class & Science Lab’ project. The Smart Class project will be implemented in 13 schools, one in each taluka in Goa. The Science Laboratories will be implemented across 30 schools located in Goa’s mining belt. The Science Lab incorporates a package of 55 different science interactive working models mapped to the state educational curriculum, providing a forum for children to pursue their natural curiosity and inventiveness.
Through Cairn India’s literacy initiatives in Rajasthan and Gujarat, Vedanta is supporting more than 150 schools by offering better learning tools to students. It also offers training to teachers in order to enhance the quality of education provided.
In Odisha, Jharsuguda, Vedanta scripted the success of its flagship CSR educational programme - Vedanta Vidyarthi Vikas Yojana (VVVY). Initiated in the year 2009 in the peripheral villages of Vedanta to enable students of vernacular high schools to pass matriculation, the project has achieved significant success by improving the pass percentage from 18% in 2008 to 99.80 % in 2016, and has recorded 100% passing percentage for girls. Till date 3031 high school students have availed academic support through VVVY centres at rural villages of Jharsuguda. The project is anchored by NGO partner AJKA with the CSR team which involves Parents, Village watch committees and trained teachers.