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How technology can help girl education in India

Can hackathons make education more accessible for girls in India? While India takes pride in its IITs and IIMs, a large number of girls quietly drop out from education school-level onwards. Want to change that? Here’s your chance with ‘Hack4Her’ – a unique hackathon organised by Women’s Education Project India, in association with TechGig and Random Hacks of Kindness India.

You swell with pride when your child bids you ‘bye’ happily at her school gate. Her education is her passport to an independent life and a confident future. But are all girls in India this fortunate?

Female literacy in India stands at just 65.46% (2011 census), when the world average is 79.7%! Further, the school dropout rate amongst adolescent Indian girls is 63.5%. Which means that most girls going to school right now will gradually fallout from the education fold and may get into employment or family life even when their education stands at bay.

This may sound like a common practice at many households and the outcomes stand out as child brides, young mothers and women with little or no access to basic necessities in life.

As we read this quietly wearing a thoughtful look, a big question stands tall – are we doing enough to bridge the gap between Indian women and their education?

Of course the government and other agencies are doing their bit but what about the rest of us? Each of us is an agent of change and there is no dearth of opportunities to bring about any change.

Women’s Education Project (WEP) India – an international organisation which supports women education – has organised a unique hackathon titled ‘Hack4Her’ to find new-age solutions to promote women education in the country. WEP India has joined hands with TechGig and Random Hacks of Kindness India for this unique contest which invites everyone to share ideas and ways to promote women education, and welfare at large.

Anybody – irrespective of age, gender, location, or education – can submit his disruptive ideas to help bridge the gap between women and education at the TechGig website. One can submit his idea either in PPT or PDF formats. Speaking of this association, Dipti Tandon, Product Head, TechGig said, “We are excited to partner with Women’s Education Project and Random Hacks of Kindness India for Hack4Her. At TechGig, we strongly believe in making women the forefront of all endeavours. We have the Geek Goddess series where we celebrate the feats of women coders exclusively. We are hopeful that Hack4Her will give light to many ideas that will boost tech solutions to enhance women education.”

Ramathreya Krishnamurthi, Business Head, TimesJobs and TechGig too expressed his aspirations from this hackathon. He said, “India is marching on to become a progressive society, however women-related issues continue to be ignored and that is a big drawback in our society’s mobilisation. With Hack4Her, we hope to have not just one or two, but more than a dozen of bright ideas that will ignite the cause of women education in India. TechGig is committed towards making technology a forefront of our daily lives and we keep hosting world-class coding contests to promote that idea. Being part of this hackathon is one such move. We invite everyone to share their ideas to promote women education”.

The team from Women’s Education Project India India is equally excited about this partnership. “Women’s Education Project -India conceptualised the idea of Hack4Her in the context of some real challenges faced by a woman to pursue her education in India. Here, we are talking about women in rural parts of the country who drop out due to various socio-economic reasons. By addressing some of the resolvable challenges, through this hackathon, we are talking baby steps to ensure our women in the coming generations don’t drop out of schools and colleges for reasons that could have been just a hack away. This hackathon in one step closer to make a woman self-reliant and independently empowered through education,” said Shruthi Dinkar, Director, Women’s Education Project India.

The participants too are excited about this contest. Since this hackathon was made live on TechGig, more than 1,916 registrations have already happened. This is just an initial number which is rising with every passing day.

The hackathon winner will take home a prize of Rs 80,000 and shortlisted candidates will get to present their ideas at Women’s Education Project India’s Forum on Nov 11, 2017. Details are mentioned at

Education Immigration Study Abroad

Key Does ‘Big Sell’ for More Indian Students

The Prime Minister is doing the “big sell” for more foreign students to prop up under-funded public education and private education businesses, says New Zealand First.

“Unsuspecting students from overseas are being used.

“Prime Minister John Key met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington and couldn’t help himself marketing the overseas student scheme to Modi,” says New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters.

“The big carrot Key dangled before the Indian prime minister was the government’s policy of allowing foreign students to work 20 hours a week in New Zealand. The government admitted in Parliament this week that it extended work hours for the students as a marketing tool and it is proving to be an attraction.

“Modi said he wanted more Indian students in New Zealand and suggested Key and the government increase marketing in Indian universities.

“The National government is shamefully refusing to fund education adequately, with the result our universities and secondary schools are desperate for cash and must look for foreign fee paying students.

“At the same time National has bowed to lobbying from the private education sector, where much money is being made out of foreign students.

“Last year there were 66,702 foreign students given work visas while we have 70,000 young New Zealanders unable to get a job.

“It’s time to start working to get young New Zealanders into jobs and stop flogging off overseas student work visas as an incentive to get them to come to New Zealand,” says Peters.

“New Zealand First supports foreign student education providing fees are paid from their country of origin, which is what export education is meant to be about. That is, another economy paying the New Zealand economy to educate that other economy’s students.

“What we have is a serious perversion of the purpose of the export education, at an enormous disadvantage to New Zealand workers trying to get jobs.

“Students and parents need to wake up to just how grossly unfair this is for young New Zealanders.”

Education Entertainment

Indian performers to visit schools

From Mumbai to Morrinsville – top Indian performers will visit New Zealand schools for public Diwali festivals and will also take to the road and visit schools in Tauranga and Waikato.

Folk-dance group Mudra Creation, from Mumbai, and a puppet troupe led by master puppeteer Mahipat Kavi, from Gujarat, are being hosted in New Zealand by the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

The performers will visit Tauranga Intermediate on Tuesday 20 October, and Greenpark School and Papamoa Primary the following day. They will then travel to Waikato on Thursday 22 October to perform at Morrinsville Intermediate that day, and Hillcrest Normal School the following day.

Asia New Zealand Foundation director of culture Jennifer King says the school visits are a long-running component of the Foundation’s Diwali programme, but this is the first time international Diwali performers have travelled outside Auckland and Wellington.

“These school visits give hundreds of New Zealand children the chance to learn about the traditions of Diwali, and to see the performers close up and ask them questions. It’s a fantastic way to learn about India.

“Often it also gives children from Indian families the confidence to talk about their own culture in their classroom. We’re excited to be able to take these visits to Tauranga and Waikato, where, like many parts of New Zealand, a growing number of people identify as Indian.”

Ms King says the Asia New Zealand Foundation is very grateful for the support of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, which has enabled the artists to travel to New Zealand from India.

Puppeteer Mahipat Kavi, from the western state of Gujarat, has been entertaining crowds for the past 50 years and also founded a puppet academy. His Puppet and Plays theatre company has animated some of India’s favourite stories, produced puppet serials for television and films for educational purposes.

Mudra Creation specialises in the folk dances of Maharashtra state, in India’s mid-west. The 10 dancers visiting the schools will perform a range of dances, including the lively lavani dance, often seen in popular Bollywood movies.

The two groups will also perform at Auckland’s Diwali Festival on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 October, at Hamilton Diwali Mela on Saturday 24 October, and then at Wellington’s Diwali Festival of Lights on Monday 26 October.

Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival celebrating the triumph of light over darkness and the renewal of life. Families celebrate with gatherings, clay lamps, fireworks, sharing of sweets, and worship to Lakshmi – the goddess of love, wealth and prosperity. Diwali is now also celebrated by other faiths in India and in overseas Indian communities.

Editor recommends Education Lifestyle News

In case of quake, drop, cover, hold

What to do in earthquake

The morning after a magnitude 7 earthquake rocked New Zealand, the country has launched a new website to make New Zealand earthquake hazard information easier to find.

Civil Defence Minister Chris Tremain says last night’s earthquake was “a timely reminder for New Zealanders to be earthquake prepared,” while the ministry updated its Shakeout website.

Previously found across several regional websites, information about all earthquake hazards throughout the country can now be accessed here.

The website is part of the New Zealand ShakeOut initiative – a campaign to have one million people involved in an earthquake drill at 9:26am on 26 September 2012.

What to do in earthquake

“Although Auckland lies in one of the lowest earthquake activity regions of New Zealand, it does experience some earthquakes from time to time, and it’s important that Aucklanders are prepared,” says Clive Manley, Manager Civil Defence and Emergency Management at Auckland Council.

“This website is also a great tool for those who travel around the country and want to find out about earthquake hazards in other regions.”

New Zealand earthquake hazards draws together information from the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, GNS Science, 16 regional civil defence emergency management groups and the local authorities that make up the groups.

As well as providing regional earthquake hazard information, each region’s page also links to the Get Thru website, which gives information that can be used throughout the country to prepare for emergencies, including earthquakes.

It was only last week that the Civil Defence launched its Drop Cover Hold campaign to address any confusion about the right actions to take in an earthquake.

Following the Canterbury and Christchurch earthquakes, there was confusion around the right actions to take, images of people running outside, as well as reports incorrectly suggesting you should not take cover under a table.

This campaign reinforces the advice of the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, GNS Science, EQC and the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering. That is, Drop, Cover and Hold during an earthquake.

New Zealand ShakeOut is a national campaign aimed at having 1 million people involved in an earthquake drill at 9:26-26:9 (9:26am 26 September). The drill is supported by a dedicated website.

Education Global Indians Study Abroad

Admissions to Indian institutes for NRI kids open soon

Admissions process will soon begin for NRI children keen to pursue undergraduate studies in India for the academic year 2012-13.

Indian government runs a special scheme - Direct Admission of Students Abroad (DASA),  for undergraduate courses in engineering for foreign nationals and persons of Indian origin (PIOs), non-resident Indians (NRIs).

These courses are run in the prestigious National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and other premier technical institutions in India. Students from more than 30 countries have been admitted under DASA so far, and the admission process, which is entirely online, will begin on 1 April.

Candidates can fill an online application form and make payment of fee electronically. This can then be followed by a signed copy of the online application form along with documents submitted to NITK, Surathkal, which is the co-ordinating institute for the courses.

The seats will be allotted based on SAT subject test scores and the preferences identified by the candidate. The application process is simple and involves creating an account, filling the form online and posting the form.

More importantly, the residential requirement for 2012-13 is relaxed from three years to two years for NRI candidates.

The PDF brochure can be downloaded online. 


Students must have passed the qualifying examination, i.e. Senior Secondary [10+2] or equivalent, with Physics and Mathematics as compulsory subjects and any one of Chemistry, Bio-technology, Computer Science, Biology as optional subjects.
Students must have secured a minimum of 60% aggregate marks or 6.75 CGPA on a 10 point scale or equivalent grades in all the subjects of the qualifying examination. Candidates appearing for the qualifying examination with the above-mentioned compulsory subjects by 25 May
2012 and expecting their final results latest by 15 September 2012 may also apply.
Candidates should have a minimum total score of 1440 in SAT Subject Tests (subjects: Maths level II, Physics and Chemistry).

First Year Tuition Fee $7,000 and non-refundable registration Fee $250 (total of $7250) must be paid along with the application form.
Foreign nationals from SAARC countries (except India) are entitled to a 50% Tuition fee waiver.  The fee can be paid either through Bank Transfer or Demand Draft or e-payment.

Similar scheme is also available for post-graduate studies - DASA PG (Post Graduate) Programme 2012 and the online application process will begin on 10 May 2012. Read the DASA PG 2012 brochure .

The Indian government also runs many other education programmes for the children of Indian Diaspora.

Education Health Lifestyle News

Mayor’s fund open for community grants

Money raised by the inaugural Auckland Mayoress’ Charity Gala Ball will soon be available to groups working with young Aucklanders as applications for grants are now open.

The ball, hosted by Mayor Len Brown and Mayoress Shan Inglis last November, raised $170,000 towards the Mayoress’ Fund for Youth, an independent charitable fund administered within the Auckland Communities Foundation.

The fund will support initiatives that directly benefit the health, well-being, educational opportunities and employment of young people living in Auckland.

New Zealand still has one of the highest rates of preventable illness and death for children in the OECD. More than 2000 young Aucklanders leave school each year without qualifications, and 15-19 year olds are the most over-represented group in unemployment statistics.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown with his wife

As a mother and grandmother, Mayoress Shan Inglis believes in an Auckland where every child has the best possible start in life and a future to look forward to.

“I believe in an Auckland where every child has the best possible start in life and a future full of opportunities,” says Shan Inglis.

Auckland Communities Foundation Chief Executive Mark Bentley says applications will be assessed by the Foundation’s independent Research and Grants Committee.

“Our advisors are experts in their fields and take an evidence-based approach to grant-making; ensuring that grants support initiatives with proven outcomes that address the real needs of young people in Auckland.”

Mayor Len Brown says he and the Mayoress were thrilled with the generosity of their guests and sponsors at the inaugural event. “The money raised from this event will support important initiatives working toward raising confident, healthy and resilient young Aucklanders with good education and career opportunities.”

A percentage of the money raised each year will be held within the fund to ensure long-term support for young Aucklanders.

How to make applications for funding 

Visit the Auckland Communities Foundation website

Fund opens for applications: Now

Applications close: 31 March 2012

Grants announced: 25 May 2012