Tata Trusts, TISS launch centre of excellence

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has joined hands with the Tata Trusts to launch the Centre of Excellence in Teacher Education (CETE).

CETE will work across five areas: academic programmes, field-action research and publications, strengthening of government education systems, technology- enabled initiatives, and policy advocacy. The larger objective is to help transform teacher development in India.

Founding CETE — which has received seed support from the Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching — with a strong multidisciplinary team is part of the Trusts’ ‘teacher education initiative’, which aims to create a lasting impact at scale in quality teacher development.

“CETE’s launch reaffirms TISS’ vision of designing high-quality research and academic programmes to respond to changing social realities as well as the National Education Policy 2020,” said Shalini Bharat, the institute’s director. “CETE will play a pivotal role in transforming the status of teachers in the country.”

Said Srinath Narasimhan, chief executive of the Tata Trusts: “Well-developed teachers, an improved learning environment and an increased capacity in the system to support educators and schools, will ensure equity and quality in education.”

Social uplift gets a leg-up

Rotary and the Tata Trusts have announced a five-year collaboration to advance socioeconomic indicators through multi-thematic interventions across India.

The collaboration will aim to scale up efforts in multiple social development spheres, including healthcare, nutrition, livelihoods, education and water and sanitation.

The objective of the Trusts-Rotary collaboration is to contribute to the larger goal of nation-building.

Social Alpha announces toppers in CleanTech startups challenge

Social Alpha, the nonprofit startup incubator supported by the Tata Trusts, has announced 17 winners in the third edition of Techtonic -- Innovations in Clean Energy.

The winning solutions included a battery-integrated, fast-charging option for electric vehicles, an affordable solar dryer to minimise post-harvest losses, cost-effective and efficient sodium-ion batteries, and a climate-controlled vertical farming system powered by renewable energy.

The top startups were chosen from a pool of 195 entries, and the winners were picked based on affordability, accessibility and user experience, innovation, impact potential, problem-solution fit, scalability potential, business viability and team strength.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Sweden-based RISE Institute contributed to the multi-stage assessment process as knowledge partners.

Speaking about the winning solutions, Social Alpha chief executive Manoj Kumar said, “Social Alpha is already working with 20 startups that, by 2030, collectively have the potential to prevent more than 200 megatons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.”

Paediatric units set up in Uttar Pradesh

The Tata Trusts have set up five-bedded paediatric intensive care units (PICUs) at the government hospitals in Campierganj and Badhalganj in the Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is rampant in the Gorakhpur region, and the management of the disease often needs tertiary-level care, for which children need to be taken to the district health headquarters. Having PICUs at the sub-district level will increase access to critical care, and in a timely fashion.

The Trusts have supported the establishment of the Gorakhpur PICUs by bringing in critical care equipment, with the state government signing on to take care of equipment maintenance, human resources and operations.

Campierganj and Badhalganj were chosen for the initiative since they are remote, populous and vulnerable regions. The two PICUs here can, in a month treat 10-20 children who require critical care.

Speaking at the launch of the PICU facility in Campierganj, Sandeep Chavan, programme officer, health systems strengthening at the Trusts, said, “The median interval between the onset of fever and hospitalisation among children affected with AES in the region is seven days. This contributes to critical delays that result in complications. Enabling access to critical care at peripheral facilities will help in reducing these delays and save lives.”

IHF to support diagnostics firm

OmiX Laboratories has bagged the support of the India Health Fund (IHF) to manufacture devices, for clinical validation and for regulatory approval and certifications. IHF has been seeded by the Tata Trusts, with strategic assistance from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The OmiX iAMP platform provides an innovation-based solution that does combined testing for Covid-19, tuberculosis and influenza. The platform has an automated sample handling process that uses robotics and AI algorithms to accurately detect and interpret samples by identifying them, through colour, as either negative or positive.

Founded by Sudeshna Adak and Abhinanda Sarkar, the Bengaluru-based OmiX Labs is primarily involved in developing rapid and cost-effective molecular diagnostics for the detection of infections.

CInI wins for work in tribal education  

Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives (CInI), an associate organisation of the Tata Trusts, has bagged a ‘platinum award’ for its tribal-focused educational initiatives at an event hosted by Mumbai-based FGnC Consulting.

When Covid derailed the education of tribal students, CInI launched several projects to ensure that tribal children were not deprived of schooling. A standout here was Jhola Library, a regional volunteering programme to foster local culture traditions.

Despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic and a paucity of resources, CInI was able to reach 50,888 students, 700-plus volunteers and more than 2,000 teachers through an evidence-based approach.