Nexus of good: Shiv Nadar Foundation
Based on its philosophy of creative philanthropy, the organisation has created educational institutions of high eminence and value for empowering individuals
Recognizing the need for creating a more equitable merit-based society by empowering individuals through transformational education, and to bridge the socio-economic divide, Shiv Nadar Foundation was established in 1994 by Shiv Nadar, Founder of HCL — a USD 10 billion leading global conglomerate. The foundation has some remarkable achievements to its credit in its journey of more than two and half decades.
The foundation pursues the philosophy of 'creative philanthropy'. It is a powerful model which envisages the creation of institutions that are built to last and continue to impact future generations. It is an approach that allows sustained institutionalized philanthropy for long-term, high-impact, socio-economic transformation. Over the last 27 years, the foundation has invested around USD 1 billion in its seven landmark institutions and initiatives across education and art. It has directly touched the lives of over 30,000 alumni and students through its marquee institutions in literacy, K12 and higher education. Today, the foundation has a community of over one lakh constituents, which includes not only globally dispersed alumni and students but also faculty members, corporate executives, and extended families.
Established in 1996 in Chennai, SSN Institutions was the first initiative of the foundation. Consistently ranked amongst the top 10 private engineering colleges of India, the institution continues to make great strides in the field of higher education. The SSN Institutions is distinguished for its research focus to drive excellence in higher education. Renowned for establishing one of the largest scholarship programmes in India, a total of 9,320 students have benefitted from it with scholarships worth Rs 81 crore given to date. With these scholarships, SSN aims to nurture deserving students' talents, maximize their potential, and help them become socially responsible citizens of tomorrow, thereby imbibing a culture of giving back to society.
The foundation's other institutions in higher education include the Shiv Nadar University, Delhi NCR and Shiv Nadar University, Chennai. Shiv Nadar University Delhi NCR, established in 2011, is a leading multidisciplinary and research-focused university and has recently been granted the prestigious status of 'Institution of Eminence Deemed to be University' by the Government of India. With this, it has become the youngest recognized IoE and part of the hallowed league of top 20 public and private institutions mandated to elevate Indian higher education on the global stage with complete academic and administrative autonomy. With the services by world-class faculty, the university offers a wide range of academic programmes at the undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level.
Shiv Nadar University Chennai is the foundation's youngest initiative and is the first private university to be legislated in Tamil Nadu after 90 years (since Annamalai University Act in 1928), upon the passing of the Shiv Nadar University Act 2018. The University has opened for admissions starting April 2021 with four specialized new-age courses in the disciplines of engineering and commerce. These programmes have been designed in line with the evolving educational and professional requirements within India and the world. The University is housed in a sprawling, vibrant campus at Kalavakkam, Chennai and comprises world-class facilities.
In the K-12 space, the Shiv Nadar Foundation has set up a unique institution called the VidyaGyan Leadership Academy for the economically underprivileged meritorious students of rural India. Established in 2009, VidyaGyan envisions bridging the urban-rural divide by creating leaders from rural India who can act as catalysts of change for their communities, villages, and the nation. VidyaGyan selects students from some of the most underprivileged rural areas of Uttar Pradesh and provides them world-class education and exposure in a fully residential, co-ed setting. It conducts one of the largest admission processes in the country for grade V students with a three-stage selection mechanism and an acceptance rate of 0.08 per cent. Over 2,50,000 children appear for admissions annually. Today, the VidyaGyan students are studying at some of the best universities in India and the world. VidyaGyan alumni have also started their professional journeys with several alumni securing placements at leading organizations including Byju's, Amazon, Teach for India, Coal India and many more.
The foundation's second institution in the school education space is the prestigious Shiv Nadar School. Established in 2012, it has branched into three schools in Delhi NCR. Today these schools are counted among the top in the country and are known to push the benchmarks in K-12 education to make students future-ready for a complex global environment. The schools offer CBSE, IGSC and IB curriculums to its students. The foundation also plans to launch the first Shiv Nadar School in Chennai in 2022.
Shiv Nadar Foundation also introduced the Shiksha Initiative in 2012 to support the government's efforts towards providing quality education. With a mission to create a literate and empowered nation, Shiksha has created an ICT-based intervention to enhance the quality of education, enrich the learning process and deepen the skills to motivate and engage students effectively. To date, over 70,000 students in 827 schools and 1,654 teachers have benefited from this initiative. The Shiksha Initiative was strategically extended for adult literacy through Shiksha+ in 2016. Shiksha+ also uses an ICT-based methodology to instil the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic skills in illiterate adults and sensitize them about the importance of education.
The foundation's unique initiative in the field of art — Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) was established in 2010 and has emerged as India's first private philanthropic museum, promoting contemporary and modern art from India and the subcontinent. KNMA envisions instilling a deep appreciation and enjoyment of art, by making art visible and accessible to all strata of society in a world-class museum. Over the last 11 years, KNMA has been visited by visitors from all over the world including art patrons, foreign tourists, CXOs, school children and budding artists. Today, KNMA has approximately 7,000 carefully hand-picked masterpieces, accessible to the general public in two museum spaces in Saket and Noida, Delhi NCR. It has become the leading platform in India to take art to the masses and generate sustainable dialogue, discussions and knowledge about Indian contemporary and modern art.
Shiv Nadar Foundation represents one of the finest examples of Nexus of Good. Starting with one private institution of higher education, it has expanded and diversified to cover the entire spectrum of education and art while partnering with the government agencies to secure greater reach.
Views expressed are personal