The Editor for “Reaching Out”- the Magazine of East Zone Award Authority since 2008 and a member of the Gold Award Holders' Society of India (GAHS), Rajarshi believes that doing the Award helped him discover his 'true potential' and that every young person should 'experience the Award'. We wish him good luck for the IGE.
As the Vice President aptly said in his address to the Awardees last year, “Our future lies with our young people and a self-development Programme like IAYP equips youth with life skills thus making them ‘Fit for the Future’. This is a great step to a vibrant society.” Through the Award, we hope to see most of these young people becoming Leaders and Volunteers; sharing their experiences to promote the Award in their schools, localities. The effort put in would allow more young people to go on self-discoveries, think beyond academics cherishing the importance of small things.
The Award is for all and discriminates against none. Whether a student is from elite schools like Modern School, DPS RK Puram in Delhi; Jamnabai Narsee School, The Cathedral & John Connon School in Mumbai; Good Shepherd International School, Ooty; Bhaktavatsalam Vidyashram Korattur and PSBBSS School,Chennai; La Martinere Girls School Kolkata or those from disadvantaged backgrounds like the Sarada Math, Sir Syed Group of School and the Blind Boys Ministry in West Bengal, the Award Ceremony successfully bridges gaps and brings together young people of a multifaceted India.
The meet started off exactly at 10:00 a.m. on the grounds of La Martiniere for Boys School, Kolkata.
Mr. Viral Sheth, Secretary, welcomed all Award Leaders and participants followed by an Ice Breaking session with Anwesha Ghosh (Gold Aspirant), Gourav Beriwal (Gold Awardee) and Rajarshi Banerjee (Gold Awardee).
Awardees from 10 units of East Zone participated in the event. They interacted with each other and sang songs many group and individual songs. They also played instruments and performed skits.
This event was a huge success and the IAYP awardees bonded with each other and this meet give the young adults an opportunity to interact, have fun and make new friends.
Experts are at a loss to accurately explain the drop in enrolment in northern states, where birth rates have essentially remained the same. In some southern states, where population planners had predicted a slowdown in birth rate, primary school enrolments have unsurprisingly declined. In Delhi, Tamil Nadu and in the northeast of the country, the figures have begun to plateau. In Bihar, Rajasthan, Assam, the struggle stems from ground-level problems like data keeping, children moving out, introduction of new schools and rationalization of data, said Madhav Chavan, the founder of educational non-profit group Pratham.
Reported in TOI Mumbai
Maybe The Award Programme can add fun in learning and equip for life, this will surely help control the drop out challenge.
By SUSAN ENGEL
Published: March 14, 2011
New Marlborough, Mass.
IN a speech last week, President Obama said it was unacceptable that “as many as a quarter of American students are not finishing high school.” But our current educational approach doesn’t just fail to prepare teenagers for graduation or for college academics; it fails to prepare them, in a profound way, for adult life.
We want young people to become independent and capable, yet we structure their days to the minute and give them few opportunities to do anything but answer multiple-choice questions, follow instructions and memorize information. We cast social interaction as an impediment to learning, yet all evidence points to the huge role it plays in their psychological development.
That’s why we need to rethink the very nature of high school itself.
I recently followed a group of eight public high school students, aged 15 to 17, in western Massachusetts as they designed and ran their own school within a school. They represented the usual range: two were close to dropping out before they started the project, while others were honors students. They named their school the Independent Project.
Their guidance counselor was their adviser, consulting with them when the group flagged in energy or encountered an obstacle. Though they sought advice from English, math and science teachers, they were responsible for monitoring one another’s work and giving one another feedback. There were no grades, but at the end of the semester, the students wrote evaluations of their classmates.
The students also designed their own curriculum, deciding to split their September-to-January term into two halves.
During the first half, they formulated and then answered questions about the natural and social world, including “Are the plant cells at the bottom of a nearby mountain different than those at the top of the mountain?” and “Why we do we cry?” They not only critiqued one another’s queries, but also the answers they came up with. Along the way, they acquired essential tools of inquiry, like how to devise good methods for gathering various kinds of data.
During the second half, the group practiced what they called “the literary and mathematical arts.” They chose eight novels — including works by Kurt Vonnegut, William Faulkner and Oscar Wilde — to read in eight weeks. That is more than the school’s A.P. English class reads in an entire year.
Meanwhile, each of them focused on specific mathematical topics, from quadratic equations to the numbers behind poker. They sought the help of full-time math teachers, consulted books and online sources and, whenever possible, taught one another.
They also each undertook an “individual endeavor,” learning to play the piano or to cook, writing a novel or making a podcast about domestic violence. At the end of the term, they performed these new skills in front of the entire student body and faculty.
Finally, they embarked on a collective endeavor, which they agreed had to have social significance. Because they felt the whole experience had been so life-changing, they ended up making a film showing how other students could start and run their own schools.
The results of their experiment have been transformative. An Independence Project student who had once considered dropping out of school found he couldn’t bear to stop focusing on his current history question but didn’t want to miss out on exploring a new one. When he asked the group if it would be O.K. to pursue both, another student answered, “Yeah, I think that’s what they call learning.”
One student who had failed all of his previous math courses spent three weeks teaching the others about probability. Another said: “I did well before. But I had forgotten what I actually like doing.” They have all returned to the conventional curriculum and are doing well. Two of the seniors are applying to highly selective liberal arts colleges.
The students in the Independent Project are remarkable but not because they are exceptionally motivated or unusually talented. They are remarkable because they demonstrate the kinds of learning and personal growth that are possible when teenagers feel ownership of their high school experience, when they learn things that matter to them and when they learn together. In such a setting, school capitalizes on rather than thwarts the intensity and engagement that teenagers usually reserve for sports, protest or friendship.
Schools everywhere could initiate an Independent Project. All it takes are serious, committed students and a supportive faculty. These projects might not be exactly alike: students might apportion their time differently, or add another discipline to the mix. But if the Independent Project students are any indication, participants will end up more accomplished, more engaged and more knowledgeable than they would have been taking regular courses.
We have tried making the school day longer and blanketing students with standardized tests. But perhaps children don’t need another reform imposed on them. Instead, they need to be the authors of their own education.
Susan Engel is the author of “Red Flags or Red Herrings: Predicting Who Your Child Will Become.”
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on March 15, 2011, on page A35 of the New York edition.
Silver Award Participant from G.D. Goenka World School shares her experiences from 'The Clean Delhi-NCR Drive'
During the exuberant celebrations o the Common Wealth Games, Delhi did not forget to make sure the city looked spic and span for the visitors. It used this opportunity to stir the conscience of its citizens to make them more aware of the major concern of rising air, water and noise pollution. Many school students, teachers, social workers and enthusiastic neighbors all took part in Delhi’s own “Clean Delhi-NCR Drive” Campaign. I was also given the opportunity to represent my school, G.D Goenka World School, in the drive and take the pledge of never throwing or standing the sight of any other person throwing anything on the road sides or into the precious rivers. Schools such as St.Thomas, Delhi Public school, Modern school, Vasant Valley and Sanskriti also took part in this campaign and traveled throughout Delhi to specific locations with garbage bags in their hands and a goal in their hearts. Roads and parks in areas such as Chandini Chowk,Rohini, Sadar bazaar, Chowri bazaar and Jama Masjid were cleaned thoroughly and left shining at the end of the one week drive. Not only students but also social leaders took part in this drive to reach out to the ears of the common man and spread awareness about the harm that we are causing to our own home.
Every school designed and scribbled their oath and best wishes on a poster. I as an IAYP participant, from my school was responsible to deliver this too and hang it on the extending chains of posters on either side of the roads of Connaught Place. A road leading inwards form the Ashoka road was blocked for this specific drive and surprisingly many delhi-ites came out on bright sunny afternoons in large numbers. T-shirts, caps and badges were distributed amongst the passionate people to create a sense of unity and dedication towards this drive. As cultural festivities play a major role in public communication, plays, songs and dances were performed by students of colleges and schools as well as famous artists. Such plays were about the irony of us Indians throwing garbage,(“holy waste”) and ashes from dead bodies into the river Yamuna, a river that was known for its magnificence many years ago. The anthem for this drive “Meri Dilli Meri Yamuna” was sung by Delhi-ites who swayed to this tune arm in arm. This sight evoked a sense of unity in me and I felt more connected to not only the campaign but also to the local community I live in. This drive was a great learning experience for me and made me realize that each individual has the potential to reach out to connect to the world and make it a better place for each one of us. “Humanity and nature must co-exist as neither will survive as the other dies”.
-Aarushi Bahl, XI-B (G D GOENKA WORLD SCHOOL)
'Equip for Life' with the Bharti Foundation:
Bharti Foundation implements education programs in primary and higher education to help both holistic and academic development of underprivileged children and youth across the rural pockets of India. All educational programs initiated by Bharti Foundation aim to make to a difference in the lives of thousands of underprivileged children and youth, allowing them to become employable citizens of the future and contribute to the economic growth of the community. The primary school program is designed to teach students to explore, question, reason and communicate effectively. This helps them connect with their own community and stay rooted to their local culture. The senior school program will train students in vocational skills to help them emerge as employable citizens and contribute to community development. 
Engage and Reward Young Employees at Bharti Enterprises:
The Award Programme fits into Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Resources Development Initiatives of companies. Bharti Enterprises has come a long way from 'humble beginnings' of a bicycle component manufacturer to a global business conglomerate made possible through the dynamic entrepreneurial leadership and professional leadership of their people.This combination of the ‘P-E Balance’ or the ‘Professional-Entrepreneurial Balance’ creates
a value system encompassing Entrepreneurship, Respect for All, Passion for Performance, Teamwork and Building Collaborative Partnerships. 
Through the Award Programme Bharti Enterprises hopes to give to their young employees a chance to build their expertise and create a rewarding work environment for them. We certainly look forward to working together!
The IAYP e-Learning project continues to generate interest and is to be presented at the Global Learn Asia Pacific 2011 – Global Conference on Learning and Technology. As the educational world becomes increasingly global, new ways to explore, learn and share knowledge are needed. The mission of the conference is to further the advancement and innovation in learning and technology. Tony Hughes will showcase the online Award Leader e-Training initiative during the event in Melbourne from 28th March to 1st April, ahead of presenting at the Regional Board Meeting in New Delhi.
Over 20 representatives from 10 Asia Pacific countries, including young people, will participate in a consultation session to discuss a proposed partnership project to establish The Network of Emerging Leaders in Asia and the Pacific (NELAP) with the UNESCAP Social Development Division. During the project, the IAA will mobilise prior Awardees in the target countries for inclusion as NELAP participants.
Mapping of UN Youth Related Programmes
The UN Asia-Pacific Interagency Group on Youth held its ninth session at the UN Centre in Bangkok on 11th February. An overview was presented by Mr Tendy Gunawan, an ILO enterprise specialist in mapping youth-related programmes of United Nations entities in Asia and the Pacific. He described youth trends in the region, and the meeting considered focusing with areas of the UN-IA group’s activity: poverty and inequality, education, employment and health. Work is also being undertaken on good practices relating to developing youth policies and a potential joint UN-IA group statement on youth policy.
- Matter from the Asia Pacific e-Newsletter
The recent IAYP Orientation Programme held at the YES Centre NISV witnessed phenomenal adult volunteer participation from 11 schools in addition to a few young leaders attending the day long workshop. From the Prayer dance by Awardees to inaugurate the workshop, their presentation of IAYP at NISV to the variety entertainment and Award Ceremony towards the end captured some of the different initiatives undertaken by the students and the community at NISV to engage their young people.
"The purpose of any business cannot be only profit. Profit for the shareholders is important. But unless entrepreneurs have a larger purpose and businesses that change lives of millions of people, a sustainable business cannot be created," he said at FICCI's Annual General Meeting here.
"We will have to move from a model of Corporate Social Responsibility to a model of Continuous Social Business through enterprise and entrepreneurship," he said. "For that, we will have to create world class institutions with a soul."
"It is important to get the business of businesses right," he said, adding that the primary responsibility of business is social improvement.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has proposed that companies should spend at least 2 per cent of their annual profits on CSR activities, but the industry has opposed the proposal.
Calling for increased spends from the government in healthcare and education, Ambani said that outlays in healthcare formed only 1 per cent of India's GDP, which he said needs to grow at least five-folds.
"Our demographic dividend, the youth and the young, are largely unprotected and uncared for. We will need to radically transform healthcare delivery to all our people," he said.
"Current food prices justify heavy investment and job creation has to be through agriculture and rural economic growth," Ambani said. He foresees an additional $ 500 billion opportunity for India in agriculture output.
The opportunity in Indian agriculture is as big as it is in energy, he said, adding that the country needs more policies like the liberalisation policy of 1991.
Stating that a large untapped opportunity existed for India to boost its under-leveraged consumer class, Ambani said the country's per capita income is less than $ 1000, one-third of China, while its per capita energy consumption is minuscule.
"Less than 1 per cent of our population uses credit cards for transactions and consumer loans are about 10 per cent of the total loan disbursals, representing an under-leveraged consumer class," Ambani said.
He said that India has grossly under-performed both in expanding access and improving the quality of education.
"In a fast moving world, we have not managed to make our education system contemporary," he said.
From The Economic Times
Experiences of Surabhi Chaturvedi, Shatakshi Chattopadhya. Sanya Tuteja, Pranay Pachauri and Akanksha Chaturvedi:
As we arrived Tikkling Camp in Haryana, adrenaline rush filled us. We were divided into two carefully balanced groups and started on the military style obstacle course. This kick started the flow of activity and allowed us to get ready for the events planned ahead.
The sudden rainstorm dampened our spirits as we were forced to return from our short trek to campsite. However, the survival session followed by steaming pakodas and 'chai' allowed us to connect with our fellow campers, thus somewhat restoring our moods. The night was cold and we were all jittery as we lay in our damp tents listening to the occasional call of jackals.
The next morning began early and the lush greenery with canopying mountains brought our spirits back. As we embarked on the trek to climb the nearby mountain, our task was surprisingly challenging as the rain from the previous night has made the route very slippery. We persisted and finally arrived at the rock climbing/rappelling site. Some of us were very skeptical about rock climbing as we had never tried it. The Trainers really encouraged us and we were exhilarated to complete the beginners' level. Post lunch, we went river crossing and thoroughly enjoyed it. The artificial rope session was tremendous learning as we discovered the many ways of knotting a rope. At the end of the session, we let loose with a fun game of football.
Making dinner from scratch over wood fire, singing songs, pulling each others' legs under a clear sky really was a memorable experience.
For some of us, who have been on several adventure trips, this was a completely new experience. Going beyond our comfort zones with new people, new environment away from the city was indeed fun! This expedition allowed each of us to know ourselves a little better than before.