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National Mathematics Day 2023: Top CSR Projects to boost Mathematics and STEM learning in India

Every year 22nd December is observed as National Mathematics Day across India to mark the birth anniversary of mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan. Ramanujan, the maths legend was born in the year 1887 on this day and is remembered for his contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions among other things.
Several companies in India have been working, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR initiative, to improve mathematics and STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics) learning among children, especially girl children and underprivileged students. On National Mathematics Day, The CSR Journal takes a look into the top CSR projects for mathematics and STEM learning in India this year.

PNB Housing Finance ‘STEM on Wheels’ CSR initiative in Ahmedabad

PNB Housing Finance through its CSR arm Pehel Foundation announced partnership with BharatCares in August this year, to introduce the ‘STEM on Wheels’ initiative in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The collaborative initiative is aimed at imparting STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics) education for underprivileged students across 21 government primary schools.
By bringing these interactive sessions directly to the doorstep of these schools, the initiative strives to inspire curiosity, foster a deeper understanding among students, and equip them with critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Launched in Sanand and Kalol blocks of Ahmedabad by key dignitaries and stakeholders, the project aims to bring together students and teachers in engaging explorative activities and practical experiments to provide them with opportunities to excel in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Rockwell Automation promotes STEM Education for underprivileged students

Rockwell Automation, Inc. announced in September this year that it is sponsoring 12 schools across major cities in India to participate in the World Robot Olympiad (WRO), organized by the India STEM Foundation. The initiative is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) goal of promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for underprivileged students – helping to equip them for the future.
A total of 38 teams from 30-35 schools participated in each WRO event. Two Rockwell Automation sponsored teams won their regional rounds in the junior and senior categories. These teams secured their seats for the National Championship which was held in September 2023.
The participants included students from Dnyanganga English medium school – Pune, Air force School, Viman Nagar – Pune, Lion M. P. Bhuta Sion Sarvajanik School – Mumbai, Sheth Chunilal Damodardas Barfivala High School Andheri – Mumbai, Swami Vivekananda Vidhya Kendra – Bengaluru, Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya – Delhi, DTEA School – Delhi, Kendriya Vidyalaya Fort William – Kolkata, and Kendriya Vidyalaya Ballygunge – Kolkata.

Free maths training programme by Raising a Mathematician, Pravaha Foundation & Mahindra University

Raising A Mathematician Foundation, Pravaha Foundation and Mahindra University announced in March 2023 that they will be jointly conducting a 10-day Free of Cost residential training camp – ‘Math.Biz’. This national level training camp was conducted from June 19-28, 2023 at Mahindra University, Hyderabad.
Math.Biz is a camp for the students of grades 9 to 12 who have a strong interest in learning about application of Mathematical principles in finance, economics, business, and management. The camp also connects them to high school level mathematical concepts.
Around 100 students were selected from schools across India through a selection test on April 2nd, 2023. Selected students attended this residential training camp for free. The camp aims at enhancing comprehension of high school mathematics and its practical applications in the real-world perspective and provides opportunities to learn from and engage with renowned faculty in the field. Students attending the camp will develop a deeper understanding of the role of mathematics in the business world while also developing critical thinking skills and connecting with a network of peers and experts in the field.

3M India’s 3M Wonder Tinkering Labs Programme

3M India, a global science company, announced the highly anticipated inauguration of the 3M Wonder Tinkering Labs Programme in August, 2023. The initiative is aimed at nurturing the budding scientific minds of the future. The company partnered with the Learning Links Foundation to create an empowering platform that equips underrepresented Government school children from Shirur taluk, Pune District of Maharashtra with essential 21st century skills.
3M Wonder Tinkering Labs was inaugurated on August 18th keeping with the company’s commitment to shaping future STEM leaders. This multi-year STEM experiences initiative is poised to uplift students from Grade 5 to 10 by providing them with cutting-edge tools, resources, and innovative pedagogical approaches.
Anchored by a network of STEM studios within participating schools, this initiative empowers students with hands-on experience in critical thinking and problem-solving. The studios are equipped with Do-It-Yourself Tinkering kits, which encompass an array of technologies including sensors, electronics, electrical circuits, and 3D printing. Guided by skilled innovation coaches, students are encouraged to apply their learning to real-world scenarios, fostering practical skill development.

Infosys Foundation’s STEM Scholarship Programme for girl students

Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic and CSR arm of Infosys, announced in August this year that that it has launched a scholarship programme called ‘STEM Stars’ to support education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields for underprivileged girl students. The Foundation has committed Rs 100 crore for the STEM scholarship programme.
The programme aims to encourage and provide financial assistance, thereby helping them pursue an undergraduate degree in STEM. As part of the first phase of this programme, over 2,000 girl students across the country, who intend to pursue higher education in any of the STEM fields from reputed colleges, will be given financial assistance for four years.
In India, the primary factors preventing students from choosing STEM courses are lack of access, mentorship, and monetary constraints. The STEM Stars scholarship will help cover tuition fees, living expenses, and study materials of up to INR 1 lakh annually for the duration of the STEM course. In its inaugural year, this scholarship will cover NIRF (National Institutional Ranking Framework) accredited institutes that include, the IITs, BITS-Pilani, NITs, and renowned medical colleges, the company announced.

Rolls-Royce’s Unnati Scholarship Programme for Women Engineering Students

In June this year, on the occasion of International Women in Engineering Day, Rolls-Royce announced the launch of the fourth edition of its Unnati Scholarship Programme for Women Engineering Students, in association with Buddy4Study and Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) India.
With a focus on bridging the gender gap and raising female representation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), this programme aims to provide financial support to meritorious students from economically underprivileged backgrounds. The scholarship is open to all women students enrolled in undergraduate engineering degree programmes at any AICTE-recognised institution in India and fulfilling the criteria of the scholarship.
Rolls-Royce’s Unnati initiatives include a range of programmes that reach out to thousands of female students in middle and high school, as well as scholarships for STEM undergraduate studies that benefit hundreds of young women.

IBM’s Initiative for STEM for Girls in India

In order to empower high school girl students to thrive in the digital economy, IBM has launched an initiative called STEM for Girls India. It is a three-year CSR programme (starting from the eighth standard) for imparting digital literacy and coding skills alongside career development and empowerment. The goal is to inculcate STEM skills and improve career prospects of over 2,00,000 girls and 1,00,000 boys too by making them employment-ready.
The project began in 2019 and now spans 10 states, 600 secondary schools 78,000 girls and 45,000 boys.
The program is significant, as the new-collar jobs today demand technical skills in AI, data science, cybersecurity etc. These subjects require a knowledge base to be built in STEM during secondary and higher education.
IBM is also working closely with various state governments to help develop STEM skills among students. For instance, the company signed an agreement with Andhra Pradesh State Skills Development Corporation, Government of Andhra Pradesh to establish a Centre of Excellence (CoE). The CoE will provide high-end training in coding, cloud computing, AI, blockchain, Big Data and data analytics, cybersecurity and full-stack development.
IBM has also joined hands with Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge, Government of Telangana to offer ‘Open P-TECH’, a digital education platform. Under the partnership, IBM is providing P-Tech for learning emerging technologies and building professional development skills like design thinking to 30,000 students from polytechnic and engineering streams.

Mastercard’s Girls4Tech Program

Mastercard launched Girls4Tech program in 2014 to create future problem solvers by incorporating the payments technology company’s deep expertise in technology and innovation. The program’s aim is to enable kids to discover a range of STEM careers, such as fraud detective, data scientist and software engineer. In 2020, the company announced a new goal for the program to reach five million girls globally by 2025.
In India, supported by the Mastercard Impact Fund and in partnership with the American India Foundation (AIF), the program will train 1,200 teachers in 350 villages and five cities including Gurugram, Pune, Vadodara, Mumbai, and Chennai on the Girls4Tech curriculum by 2021. Through the partnership, the program will reach 100,000 girls ages 8-14 across 475 schools over the next 12 months.
Through the website Girls4Tech Connect, teachers and parents can download lessons to help students learn about STEM topics including encryption, fraud detection, data analysis and digital convergence, from the comfort of their homes or anywhere around the world. Lessons are currently available in English, Chinese, Hindi, Malay, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Polish.
Mastercard aims to stimulate meaningful partnerships focused on empowering women to succeed in the digital economy. This initiative is a part of Mastercard’s recent commitment of Rs 250 crores (US$33 million) to help reboot Indian SMEs to unlock their economic potential.