Government of Telangana, UNICEF and YuWaah announce the launch of Telangana School Innovation Challenge 2021
Celebration marks the first anniversary of the innovation challenge aimed at promoting 21st-century skills and design thinking
HYDERABAD: Following the success of the first edition in 2020, the Government of Telangana, in collaboration with UNICEF, YuWaah and Inqui-lab Foundation today announced the launch of Telangana School Innovation Challenge 2021. The program was launched today by the Minister of Information Electronics & Communications, K.T.Rama Rao and Minister of Education, Sabitha Indra Reddy at Pragathi Bhavan, Hyderabad.
UNICEF-YuWaah in partnership with Telangana State Innovation Cell (TSIC), Inqui-lab Foundation initiated the Telangana School Innovation Challenge last year, towards nurturing Design Thinking, Innovation and Entrepreneurial mindsets among young people. SIC is a one of its kind programs in the country catapulting Telangana state as the pioneer in promoting 21st century skills and design thinking for the teachers and students.
The initiative owes its success to the unique and innovative SIC challenge management technology platform through which 25,000 government school students (Classes 6-10) and 5200 teachers were onboarded and engaged on UNICEF’s UPSHIFT social innovation curriculum. Upon completion of their learning journeys, SIC received 7000 youth-led entrepreneurial solutions addressing social problems from across 33 districts of Telangana. This reinforced the state’s vision of youth leadership by accelerating young people’s capacities to solve real world challenges and emerge as solution providers, instead of solution seekers.
Starting from October 2021, the program will include a host of activities from learning modules to activity-based problem solving, conceptualising innovative solutions for the chosen problem statements. The top innovation from each district across the state will be selected, which will culminate with a boot camp for the 33 finalists followed by the Grand Finale. This year the program aims to include Social Welfare schools, Tribal schools, Residential schools, and Private budget schools in addition to Government schools and consequently impact a larger set of students.
All the finalists will receive incubation support and the top three winners win cash prizes.
Launching the second edition of the challenge, KT Rama Rao, Honorable Minister of IT, Government of Telangana, said, “The Government of Telangana through TSIC has been upfront about innovation to begin from young age. For this, creating access to design thinking, problem-solving skills are the way to go. School Innovation Challenge is one such programmatic way to groom Govt. school children in making them self-reliant. This edition, TSIC along with Education Dept., UNICEF, and Inqui-Lab, aims at creating the access to Innovation for 50000 school children across the State”
Announcing the launch of the second year of the innovation challenge, Education Minister Sabita Indra Reddy said, “We were delighted with the overwhelming response of 25,000 excited students participating in the first edition of the Telangana School Innovation Challenge. This year too we are happy to partner with UNICEF, YuWaah and Inqui-Lab Foundation to conduct the online ideation challenge across 5000+ middle and high schools in 33 districts of Telangana. The aim is to provide students, especially from non-residential local government & social welfare schools, a unique platform to present their thoughts and ideas for the future progress of their communities.”
Jayesh Ranjan, IAS, Principal Secretary to ITE&C said, “While School Innovation Challenge is a testimony to the decentralised way of creating Culture of Innovation, this year the focus would be to tap on the uncharted areas and be more inclusive of schools both demographically and geographically.”
Speaking of the program, Dr. Shanta Thoutam, Chief Innovation Officer to Government of Telangana, said, “TSIC has been consistently nurturing the culture of innovation in the state from school age. Through School Innovation Challenge, we sensitise the stakeholders of both Government and Private Budget Schools including Education Officers, Science Officers, & Teachers across the 33 districts who in turn will inculcate Design Thinking & Entrepreneurial mindset among students to solve pressing challenges of their localities.
Speaking at the launch, John B. Trew, Adolescent Education & Skills Specialist, UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia, said, “Fostering a culture of innovation and problem solving from a young age is increasingly imperative in preparing our young people to handle the challenges that await them in the post-pandemic world. We are delighted to collaborate with TSIC and Inqui-Lab Foundation once again for this remarkable innovation challenge, designed to encourage students to work collectively in teams, equip themselves with the right knowledge through learning modules and come up with innovative and prudent solutions to issues faced by their respective communities.”
Sahithya Anumolu, Co-Founder, Inqui-Lab Foundation said, “We grateful for the opportunity to once again partner with the Government of Telangana, UNICEF and YuWaah to provide students in the state of Telangana with a platform to unleash their creative thoughts and ideas for the betterment of their communities. We hope to repeat the phenomenal success that we received from 2020 and encourage more students and teachers to avail of this unique learning and ideation opportunity.”