ETTECHX – 05 – 06 – 07 December 2024 – Hyderabad – Telengana

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Ed Tech News

Breaking boundaries: Gopichand Thotakura set to become first Indian tourist to soar to space

In pursuit of soaring beyond Earth’s confines, Indian aviator Gopichand Thotakura has been chosen to journey into space aboard Blue Origin’s spacecraft. Thotakura’s selection marks a significant milestone as he becomes the first Indian tourist to venture into space. He joins a select crew for Blue Origin’s New Shepard-25 (NS-25) mission, comprised of individuals from diverse backgrounds around the globe.

Although the exact launch date remains undisclosed, Thotakura’s involvement in this mission signifies the seventh human flight for the New Shepard program and the 25th in its storied history.

Pilot Hailed from Vijayawada

Hailing from Vijayawada, Gopichand Thotakura, aged 30, is not only an entrepreneur but also a seasoned pilot whose passion for flying was ignited at a tender age. Co-founder of Preserve Life Corp, a pioneering hub for holistic wellness and applied health situated near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Thotakura’s aviation prowess is highlighted by his diverse experiences.

Described on the Blue Origin website as someone who “learnt to fly before he could drive,” Thotakura boasts a remarkable repertoire, from piloting commercial jets to navigating bush planes, aerobatic aircraft, seaplanes, gliders, and even hot air balloons. His career has also seen him serve as an international medical jet pilot, showcasing his versatility and commitment to aviation excellence.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Thotakura is an avid traveler and adventure enthusiast. A graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, his recent conquest of the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro exemplifies his adventurous spirit and determination.

Pioneering Blue Origin’s NS-25 Mission

Joining Thotakura on this extraordinary journey are five other distinguished individuals carefully selected for Blue Origin’s New Shepard-25 (NS-25) mission. Among them are Mason Angel, a notable venture capitalist, Sylvain Chiron, a dynamic entrepreneur, Kenneth L Hess, an accomplished software engineer and entrepreneur, Carol Schaller, a retired CPA, and Ed Dwight, a seasoned astronaut.

As part of their mission, each astronaut will carry a postcard to space on behalf of Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future. Noteworthy is the remarkable sustainability of the New Shepard spacecraft, with nearly 99% of its dry mass being reused, including the booster, capsule, engine, landing gear, and parachutes. Fueled by highly efficient liquid oxygen and hydrogen, the spacecraft’s engine produces only water vapor during flight, thereby leaving no carbon emissions.

As anticipation mounts for this historic voyage, Gopichand Thotakura and his fellow crew members stand poised to make their mark on the annals of space exploration, representing the spirit of human ingenuity and exploration.

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Ed Tech News

Edtech startup Scaler lays off 150 employees in restructuring exercise

Education technology startup Scaler, known for assisting college students and tech professionals in enhancing their skills, has reportedly initiated layoffs affecting around 150 employees in its marketing and sales departments, according to sources.

Scaler has confirmed the restructuring, citing it as a strategic move aimed at ensuring long-term growth and sustainability. However, the exact number of employees affected by the layoffs has not been disclosed. Sources suggest that approximately 17% of the startup’s 900 full-time workforce have been impacted by the decision.

Based in Bengaluru, the company currently employs about 1,400 individuals, including part-time workers, contractual staff, and interns. Scaler emphasized that the layoffs were not performance-related.

Abhimanyu Saxena, one of the co-founders, stated, “We have designed a new way of working to be able to achieve sustainable growth while delivering the best learning experience and outcomes for our learners–something that we’ve always been committed to. As part of this restructuring, we identified some functions/roles, primarily in marketing and sales, in the company that we had to part ways with.”

In April 2023, Scaler introduced the Scaler School of Technology, a four-year residential undergraduate computer science program aimed at nurturing the next generation of software professionals in India.

The subsequent month saw Scaler’s acquisition of Delhi-based education platform Pepcoding for an undisclosed sum, marking its fourth acquisition between 2022 and 2023, following AppliedRoots, Coding Minutes, and Coding Elements. These moves were part of the startup’s strategy to bolster its business ecosystem.

Notably, Scaler achieved positive cash flow and profitability in the July-September quarter of the previous year. The company had expressed its intention to sustain this momentum throughout 2024, aiming for annual profitability. This announcement coincided with the appointment of Tapan Jindal as the chief financial officer in January this year.

Scaler’s latest funding round, a Series B investment of $55 million led by Lightrock India, elevated its valuation to $710 million. Other investors in the company include Peak XV Partners (formerly Sequoia Capital India) and Tiger Global.

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Higher Education

AICTE and C-CAMP launch Inter-Institutional Biomedical Innovations Programme

The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) has initiated the AICTE-Inter-Institutional Biomedical Innovations Programme (IBIP) to drive interdisciplinary collaboration in education, research, and innovation among medical and engineering institutions.

An MoU has been formalized between C-CAMP and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), solidifying their joint commitment to advancing accessible, affordable, and high-quality healthcare for all citizens.

The primary aim of the programme is to facilitate collaborative efforts among engineering and medical graduates, postgraduates, and faculty members to address challenges within the medical domain. In addition to fostering multidisciplinary education and research, the initiative aims to cultivate entrepreneurial skills, particularly in the healthcare sector. As part of this endeavor, an online Bio Entrepreneurship Didactic course will be made available.

T.G. Sitharam, Chairman of AICTE, emphasized that the partnership between engineering and medical students will stimulate creativity, innovation, and a deeper understanding of the intricate challenges in healthcare. He highlighted the potential for students from both disciplines to develop impactful solutions that enhance patient care and drive progress in the field of medicine.

Under IBIP, AICTE will provide a grant-in-aid of ₹10 lakh, matched by contributions from participating institutions, to develop and implement a minimum of 10 ideas and innovations aimed at tackling healthcare challenges. Selected institutions will form a collaborative network, facilitating shared learning, collaboration, and performance enhancement.

C-CAMP, through its flagship programme, will provide mentorship, mediation, and support for AICTE-IBIP. Additionally, it will organize awareness programs to educate faculty and students from medical and engineering institutes about the benefits of interdisciplinary teamwork and the potential for innovation and entrepreneurship within India’s healthcare sector.

 

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Expert View

Interview with Mr. Raj Singhal, Co-founder & CEO of Footprints Childcare

An exclusive interview with Mr. Raj Singhal, Co-founder & CEO of Footprints Childcare

By D.Raghavendra for ET TECH X, April 12, 2024

Meet Mr. Raj Singhal, the visionary Co-founder & CEO of Footprints Childcare, a pioneering venture revolutionizing early childhood education in India. With a background in esteemed institutions like IIT and IIM, Raj’s journey into the childcare sector was inspired by a deep commitment to bridge the gap in India’s childcare landscape.

Fueled by a personal experience and a clear vision, Raj and his team embarked on a mission to elevate early education standards by prioritizing child development and parental peace of mind. In an exclusive interview with ET TECH X, Raj shares how Footprints Childcare stands apart imparting qualitative education and care to young ones, and what makes it the most preferable franchiser.

Can you provide insight into the inception of Footprints Childcare and the vision behind establishing the brand?

Footprints Childcare was born from a personal experience and a vision to revolutionize early childhood education in India. We recognized a stark disparity in the quality of childcare options compared to Western standards. This realization catalyzed us to establish Footprints, driven by a mission to provide a nurturing and stimulating learning environment for children. Our vision was clear: to elevate India’s early childhood education landscape by offering comprehensive, research-based programs prioritizing child development and parental peace of mind.

What inspired you and your fellow alumni from esteemed institutions like IIT and IIM to venture into early education and childcare?

Our journey into the early education and childcare field was inspired by the desire to bridge the gap we observed in the Indian childcare sector. As parents, we experienced firsthand the challenges and shortcomings of existing childcare options. Drawing from our commitment to positively impacting, we saw an opportunity to leverage our expertise and resources to create a solution.

Could you elaborate on the role of advanced technology, particularly the Footprints ParentConnect App, in enhancing parental involvement and the overall childcare experience?

The Footprints ParentConnect App is pivotal in enhancing parental involvement and childcare experience. With features like live CCTV streaming, parents can observe their children’s activities in real time, fostering a sense of connection and transparency. The app provides regular updates on growth milestones, photos, and personalized insights, keeping parents engaged in their child’s development journey. Additionally, innovative tools such as the “read-o-stick” device transform traditional books into interactive smart books, promoting engagement and learning at home and in the classroom.

Safety and a nurturing environment are paramount in childcare centers. How does Footprints ensure the safety and well-being of children across its 116 centers?

Safety and well-being are paramount at Footprints, and we leave no stone unturned to ensure the highest standards. Background checks are conducted for all staff members, and child-safe infrastructure and access controls are maintained to create a secure environment for play and learning. Live CCTV streaming enables real-time monitoring, while trained staff members are equipped to handle emergencies effectively. These comprehensive measures give parents confidence in their child’s safety and well-being while in our care.

Nutritious meals are crucial for children’s growth and development. Can you discuss Footprints’ approach to providing healthy meals and its impact on the children under your care?

Nutritious meals are fundamental to children’s growth and development, and we prioritize providing healthy and balanced meals to all children under our care. Our approach involves designing menus that meet dietary guidelines and cater to individual preferences and restrictions.

Footprints has received several awards and recognition for its early education excellence. What do you believe sets Footprints apart from other childcare providers and leads to such recognition?

Footprint’s commitment to excellence in early education and childcare sets us apart from other providers, leading to numerous awards and recognitions. Our focus on technology integration, safety, quality, and the HighScope curriculum distinguishes us as leaders in the field. Additionally, our adherence to stringent safety protocols and personalized attention to each child’s development contribute to our reputation for excellence.

With Footprints expanding across 23 cities in India, what are your plans and aspirations for the brand?

Our plans and aspirations are centered around further growth. We aim to continue expanding our footprint and reach more families needing high-quality early education and childcare services. Our ultimate goal is to become India’s premier destination for early childhood education, empowering children to reach their full potential and shaping a brighter future for generations to come.

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K -12 Education

CBSE set to introduce pilot program for national credit framework in grades 6, 9, and 11

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has announced its intention to conduct a trial run of the National Credit Framework (NCrF) for grades 6, 9, and 11 starting from the upcoming academic session of 2024-25.

The NCrF, a component of the National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020, was introduced by the government last year with the aim of facilitating the seamless integration of school, higher, and vocational education. It allows students to accumulate credits from pre-primary education up to the PhD level.

In a letter addressed to school principals, the CBSE outlined its plan to implement the NCrF guidelines on a pilot basis in schools affiliated with the board. The guidelines, developed and circulated by the CBSE, have undergone discussions in multiple workshops and received approval from the Union Ministry of Education.

The pilot implementation will involve schools offering classes 6, 9, and 11, with the initiative set to commence from the academic session of 2024-2025. The board has invited interested schools to participate in the pilot program by sharing their contact details through a provided link.

Under the NCrF, students will have the opportunity to accrue credits through various avenues, including classroom instruction, laboratory activities, projects, sports and performing arts, participation in organizations like NCC, engagement in social work, vocational education, and experiential learning.

This shift towards competency and learning outcome-based education aims to bridge the gap in achieving learning outcomes. Assessment will be mandatory for earning credits across all types of learning.

The credits earned by students will be stored in their Academic Bank of Credit (ABC), which will eventually be linked to their APAAR ID and DigiLocker.

By introducing the NCrF, the CBSE aims to revolutionize the education system by providing diverse pathways for students to acquire and demonstrate their skills and knowledge, both within and beyond the traditional classroom setting.

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Higher Education

Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu and NSE boss Ashish Chauhan appointed UGC members for three years

The Ministry of Education has recently announced the appointment of four distinguished individuals to the University Grants Commission (UGC), serving for a term of three years or until further orders.

Among the newly appointed members are Ashish Kumar Chauhan, the Managing Director and CEO of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), and Sridhar Vembu, the CEO of Zoho Corporation. Both Chauhan and Vembu will serve as members of the Commission for three years.

Ashish Kumar Chauhan, a mechanical engineer from IIT Bombay and an alumnus of IIM Calcutta, is renowned for his expertise in financial market policies. He was appointed as MD and CEO of NSE by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in July 2022 for a five-year term. Chauhan is a founding member of NSE and previously served as CEO of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). Under his leadership, BSE was listed in 2016, achieving several milestones and leveraging advanced technologies for operational efficiency. In Q3 FY24, NSE reported an 8% increase in consolidated net profit to Rs 1,975 crore, contributing Rs 28,131 crore to the exchequer in the first nine months of FY24. NSE is currently awaiting regulatory approval to commence its initial public offering (IPO) process.

Sridhar Vembu, the Co-founder and CEO of Zoho Corporation based in Chennai, leads a workforce of over 15,000 employees worldwide. Zoho Corporation encompasses various technology brands, including ManageEngine, Zoho.com, TrainerCentral, Zakya, and Qntrl. Under Vembu’s guidance, the sales of the SaaS unicorn surpassed the $1 billion mark in FY23. Vembu was honored with the Padma Shri in 2021 for his contributions.

The other two appointees to the UGC are Professor (Retd.) Sachidananda Mohanty, former Vice Chancellor of the Central University of Odisha, and Professor Shashikala Gulabrao Wanjari, Vice Chancellor of the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) in New Delhi.

These appointments bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the UGC, signaling a commitment to enhancing educational governance and policy formulation.

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Higher Education

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs): Shaping the future of nation

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) play a pivotal role in shaping the future of individuals and nations alike. In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on analyzing the returns and investments in higher education, particularly focusing on institutions of national importance.

These institutions not only contribute significantly to individual career advancements but also play a crucial role in driving socio-economic development and innovation on a national scale.

Growing emphasis on analyzing Returns and Investments

Investing in higher education is widely recognized as a pathway to personal and professional success. Individuals who pursue higher education often experience higher earning potential, greater job opportunities, and enhanced skill development. However, the benefits of higher education extend far beyond individual gains. They have a profound impact on national economies and societal progress.

One of the key aspects of analyzing returns on investment in higher education is evaluating the economic contributions of HEIs to the nation. National HEIs serve as hubs of innovation, research, and development, driving technological advancements, and fostering entrepreneurship. They attract talented faculty members and students from across the country and around the world, creating a diverse and dynamic intellectual environment.

Collaboration and Innovation: National HEIs as Hubs of Progress

Furthermore, national HEIs often collaborate with industry partners, government agencies, and non-profit organizations to address pressing societal challenges and drive economic growth. Research conducted at these institutions leads to the development of new technologies, products, and services, which in turn stimulate job creation and industry expansion.

In addition to their economic impact, national HEIs play a critical role in advancing knowledge and understanding in various fields, including science, technology, engineering, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences. They produce skilled professionals, researchers, and thought leaders who contribute to the intellectual capital of the nation.

Cultural Exchange and Social Mobility

Moreover, national HEIs serve as centers of cultural exchange and social mobility. They provide opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to access quality education and pursue their academic aspirations. By promoting inclusivity and diversity, these institutions contribute to social cohesion and equitable development.

Despite the significant returns generated by national HEIs, it is essential to critically analyze the investments made in higher education to ensure optimal outcomes. Governments, policymakers, and stakeholders must allocate resources efficiently and effectively to support the growth and sustainability of these institutions.

Prioritizing Investments in Higher Education

Investments in higher education should prioritize areas such as infrastructure development, faculty recruitment and retention, research funding, student scholarships, and academic programs that align with national priorities and emerging trends. Moreover, there should be a focus on enhancing the quality, relevance, and accessibility of higher education to meet the evolving needs of society and the labor market.

Furthermore, it is crucial to adopt measures to monitor and evaluate the performance and outcomes of national HEIs systematically. This includes assessing key indicators such as student retention and graduation rates, research productivity, industry partnerships, alumni success, and societal impact. By leveraging data and analytics, stakeholders can make informed decisions and enhance the effectiveness of investments in higher education.

Finally, analyzing returns and investments in higher education, particularly focusing on institutions of national importance, is essential for driving sustainable development and prosperity. National HEIs play a multifaceted role in advancing knowledge, fostering innovation, promoting economic growth, and enhancing social mobility. By investing strategically in higher education and continuously evaluating its impact, nations can harness the full potential of their intellectual capital and build a brighter future for generations to come.

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Expert View

Inspiring Wellness: Interview with Drishti Chhabria, Founder of Orangetheory Fitness India

An exclusive interview with Drishti Chhabria, the Founder and Chief Experience Officer of Orangetheory Fitness India

By D.Raghavendra for ET TECH X, April 10, 2024

Drishti Chhabria, a dynamic entrepreneur and fitness enthusiast who is revolutionizing the fitness landscape in India as the Founder and Chief Experience Officer of Orangetheory Fitness India. With a profound understanding of the diverse motivations behind people’s fitness journeys, Drishti identified a gap in the industry that she was determined to fill.

In this exclusive interview with ET TECH X, we delve into the extraordinary journey of Drishti Chhabria, a maven at the intersection of fitness and experience design. Drishti’s narrative unfolds as a testament to her entrepreneurial spirit, leadership prowess, and an unbridled passion for empowering individuals on their wellness journey.

What inspired you to establish your fitness center?

The motivation for embarking on a fitness journey varies greatly from person to person. It could be spurred by a health issue, a desire for more energy, the need to engage in activities with loved ones, a wish to shed pounds for a special occasion, or simply to feel healthier and fitter overall. However, it seems that the health and fitness industry predominantly emphasizes external goals such as achieving a certain weight or attaining a specific physical appearance. Recognizing this gap, I am dedicated to refocusing attention on internal well-being alongside external fitness. My own fitness journey began with a focus on addressing health concerns, but I soon found myself ensnared in the pursuit of aesthetic ideals. I realized the importance of prioritizing holistic health—both physical and mental—and returning to the original motivations that inspired me to start my journey. At Orangetheory, we prioritize training the body’s most crucial muscle: the heart. Through heart-rate based training, we concentrate on cardio and strength exercises to enhance heart health, improve muscular strength and endurance, and achieve optimal body composition. My passion for health and fitness, combined with a desire to positively impact others, led me to establish my own fitness studios. I am committed to motivating individuals to enhance their health and fitness, both internally and externally.

What unique features distinguish your fitness center from others in the industry?

In a landscape dominated by traditional big box gyms and personal training in India, I aimed to introduce a revolutionary approach to working out. By offering science-backed methodologies in group fitness settings, our goal is to transform how Indians engage with exercise and lead more vibrant lives. Our workouts, crafted by experts, leverage heart rate-based training to deliver tangible results and ongoing progress in each session. With our proprietary technology and heart rate monitors, we track your performance and display real-time statistics on screens throughout the studio. This not only allows you to monitor your progress but also enables our coaches to ensure you’re training optimally without overexertion or underperformance. In addition, our coaches provide personalized guidance on form within the group setting, ensuring a safe and effective workout experience. At Orangetheory Fitness, our coach-led, science-backed, and technology-tracked approach yields measurable results, not only physically but also emotionally and mentally. Our members report improvements in sleep, metabolism, confidence, mood, and overall quality of life. What sets us apart is the efficiency of our program; with just 3-4 one-hour workouts per week, we help you achieve your fitness goals without requiring a significant time commitment.

Could you highlight some of the most sought-after programs or classes available at your center?

Our most popular workout is what we call Orange 60. It is a 1-hour strength and cardio class that incorporates cardio on the treadmill, strength training on the weight floor with various equipment along with total body rowing on our water rowers for a total body workout. During the Orange 60 classes, we focus on our 3 pillars of fitness – strength, endurance, and power, to provide you a perfect balance for overall improvement of your health and wellbeing. The goal of an Orange 60 is for members to train through our 5 heart-rate zone training program to help them achieve their fitness goals by training in the desired heart rate zones. We also have specific classes dedicated to only strength and only cardio, called Strength 50 and Tread 50. These are specialized to help our members achieve specific goals of their own. For those looking for marathon training or weather-proof endurance training, the Tread 50 allows you to come in and focus on the treadmill only. For most people, the perception of fitness is based on what we must lose – lose weight or lose body fat percentage, but we focus on what you can gain with the Strength 50. Gaining muscle, strength and confidence are what we should be measuring to achieve long-term goals and a healthy relationship with fitness.

                     Orange Theory Fitness center

How do you cultivate a supportive and motivational atmosphere for your clients?

In our studios, building a strong community is a priority for us so we go above and beyond to cultivate an environment where our members are like one big family. From the moment someone walks in, we know every individual’s name and fitness goals from day one to help motivate them and assist them in the long run. We hold specialty events and workouts within the studio to motivate our members to support each other in group workouts as well as be consistent in their fitness journey. We celebrate birthdays, milestones, personal records, and progress on the day-to-day to keep celebrating our members and build a positive environment. Beyond the studio, we host community events such as “Member Mingles” for our members to get to know each other and our OTF team as well as participate in marathons or local runs together. We believe that one of the biggest motivators for members is a sense of belonging and being around like-minded individuals, hence we strive to create a community where not only does our staff support our members, but the members support each other. Members keep coming back for a sense of belonging, rather than competition which helps build accountability and push each other to stay committed to their goals.

What guiding principles do you adhere to regarding achieving and sustaining a healthy lifestyle through fitness?

Fitness is about how you feel, not how you look. I believe it’s important to adapt to sustainable habits that help you feel good and focus on your internal health. The external results you are looking for will automatically follow once you focus on healthy habits. I believe it is better to start small and stay consistent for a long time, rather than trying to achieve habits that are hard to sustain. Balance is key, and the key is to not let the bad days outweigh the good. Of course there are days where we can’t make it to the gym or eat clean, but the goal is to follow a sustainable routine 80% of the time. My philosophy is to at least incorporate some basic exercise or movement for health benefits, especially to prevent yourself from developing any diseases or health issues.

How do you stay abreast of evolving fitness trends and adapt to meet the changing needs of your clientele?

Innovation is in our DNA, as we have always been pioneers of innovating in the fitness industry such as using wearables or tracking results in real time through our proprietary heart rate technology. We always strive to adapt to evolving fitness needs, but the goal remains the same – to help people live a healthier, vibrant life. For example, this year, we launched new class types in India such as Strength 50 and Tread 50 to help our clients with more offerings that fit their needs. Our workout programs evolve every month and are innovated to change up the exercises and routine based on customer feedback from our app and customer needs. Further, our technology tracks data and allows us to innovate the customer experience based on trends that we observe. We strive to reduce the barrier between people and their struggles in their fitness journey. In whatever we do, we always aim to listen to our customers and help them to pay attention to metrics and fitness for functionality and health to shift the attention from the weighing scale and physical exterior.

What advice would you offer to individuals contemplating a career in the fitness industry or contemplating opening their own fitness center?

No matter what competition already exists in the fitness industry and no matter what experience you may have, you should always follow your passion. If you are passionate about impacting lives and helping people improve their health every day, then you are on the right path to enter the industry. No matter what you chose to do, the goal is to stick to your “WHY” because of which you originally started your career, and you “why” you got into health and fitness in the first place. Through my own struggles with my fitness journey, I was passionate about helping others with similar difficulties and every day that is what motivates me to innovate, improve and improvise with my business. Finally, my advice would be while passion is enough to help you achieve your team, integrity is a value that is hard to find. Stay true to yourself and have integrity and transparency with your team and your customers always to be able to build a successful community. Believe in your passion and hold yourself and others accountable to a high level of integrity.

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K -12 Education

NCERT releases advisory regarding unauthorized utilization of textbook content

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has issued a firm warning against the unauthorized reproduction of its educational materials.

In an official notice, the NCERT highlighted the concerning trend of certain unscrupulous publishers printing NCERT school textbooks, available on its website, under their own name without securing permission from the educational authority.

As the apex body responsible for developing and disseminating textbooks for all stages of school education, NCERT has long been recognized as the authoritative source of educational teaching and learning resources.

The notice emphasized that any individual or entity found publishing NCERT textbooks for commercial purposes, either in full or in part, or utilizing the textbook content in such publications without obtaining proper copyright permission from NCERT, will face legal repercussions under the Copyright Act of 1957.

Additionally, NCERT cautioned the public against purchasing such unauthorized textbooks, pointing out the potential inaccuracies in content and the contradiction with the fundamental principles of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) of 2023. The notice urged individuals who encounter pirated textbooks to promptly report them to NCERT via email at pd.ncert@nic.in.

Furthermore, NCERT invited publishers wishing to incorporate the NCERT name in their publications to submit proposals to the Publication Division NCERT, located at Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi-16, or via email at secy.ncert@nic.in.

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Expert View

Nova Formworks: Paving the Way for Sustainable Construction

An exclusive interview with Mr. Vikas Kumar Mittal, the Managing Director of Nova Formworks

By D.Raghavendra for ET TECH X, April 10, 2024

Vikas Kumar Mittal is the Managing Director of Nova Formworks. Over the past two decades, he has been the prime mover of the exponential growth of Nova Formworks, and for carving a niche for Nova plastic formwork system. NOVA represents a new age of construction. An era that is not just innovative in its applications but is replacing the traditional methods of old school construction methods like ply-based formworks with more environmentally friendly solutions- like formworks that can be reused more than 100 times for projects.

In an interview with ET TECH X,  Tech-entrepreneur Vikas Kumar Mittal elaborates on the evolution of plastic manufacturing industry, the latest trends in materials and technologies in plastic formwork, his company’s role in bringing about the current revolution in the plastic molded furniture sector, Nova’s capacity expansion plans, and much more.

Can you elaborate on your journey within the plastic manufacturing domain, starting from your family business in 1999 to your current position as Managing Director of Nova Formworks?

My journey began in 1999 within my family’s plastic manufacturing business, where I gained invaluable hands-on experience. In 1999, we diversified into plastic molded furniture, driven by a commitment to sustainability and innovation. This venture showcased plastics’ potential beyond conventional use. In 2005, I started a plastic corrugated sheet manufacturer in Delhi and in 2007, I led the inception of Nova Formworks, aiming to revolutionize construction with sustainable plastic formwork. Launching it in 2011 Overcoming technical challenges, we developed the Nova system, recognized for its efficiency and durability. Today, as Managing Director, I’m proud to lead Nova Formworks in redefining construction practices.

What inspired you to introduce plastic molded furniture and the Nova plastic formwork system, and how have these initiatives impacted Nova Formworks’ trajectory in the industry?

Plastic molded furniture emerged from a vision to redefine plastics’ role, emphasizing durability and eco-friendliness. This initiative aligned with sustainability goals while expanding market reach. Similarly, Nova Formworks stemmed from recognizing construction inefficiencies. Our plastic formwork system aims to offer a sustainable, cost-effective alternative. Its success lies in simplifying construction processes, reducing waste, and enhancing project efficiency. Both initiatives reflect Nova’s commitment to innovation and sustainability.

Could you share some key milestones or achievements during your tenure that you are particularly proud of, and how did they contribute to Nova Formworks’ success?

Nova Formworks has achieved several key milestones that have significantly contributed to our success in the industry. One milestone we are particularly proud of is the successful development and commercialization of the Nova plastic formwork system. This achievement represents years of dedicated research, development, and collaboration with industry experts to bring a disruptive innovation to market.

How do you stay informed about industry trends and best practices, and how do you incorporate this knowledge into Nova Formworks’ strategies and operations?

Staying informed involves proactive measures.  We closely follow industry publications, attend trade shows and conferences, and actively engage with construction professionals.

We prioritize client feedback to understand their needs and challenges, allowing us to continuously improve our products and services. Additionally, we collaborate with industry experts to stay updated on best practices and technological advancements.

This allows us to identify emerging trends and adapt our strategies accordingly.  For instance, the growing adoption of monolithic construction systems prompted us to introduce this format within our product offerings.

What are some of the core competencies or qualities you believe are essential for driving business growth and leading dynamic teams, and how do you cultivate these within Nova Formworks?

At Nova Formworks, we emphasize several core values:

  • Innovation: We continuously strive to improve our products and explore new solutions to meet evolving industry needs.
  • Customer Focus: We prioritize exceptional service and ensure our formwork systems deliver real value to construction companies.
  • Sustainability: Our reusable plastic formworks minimize environmental impact, and we actively seek further eco-friendly practices.
  • Teamwork: We foster a collaborative work environment where diverse skill sets come together to drive success.
  • Resilience: We persevere through challenges, adapt our strategies, and learn from setbacks.

What is your vision for Nova Formworks in terms of revolutionizing construction practices worldwide, and what steps are being taken to realize this vision?

Our vision is to establish Nova Formworks as the global leader in innovative and sustainable plastic formwork solutions.  We are actively expanding our product offerings and geographic reach. Furthermore, we are establishing a dealer network to broaden our market presence internationally.  By focusing on innovation, sustainability, and global expansion, we aim to revolutionize construction practices worldwide.

As a leader in the plastic manufacturing industry, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs or professionals looking to make a meaningful impact in the field?

Entrepreneurship is a journey marked by innovation, perseverance, and adaptability. It involves identifying opportunities, taking calculated risks, and turning ideas into reality. Success in entrepreneurship requires a combination of vision, strategic planning, and relentless determination. Embracing failure as a learning opportunity and staying resilient in the face of challenges are essential qualities. Additionally, fostering a customer-centric approach and prioritizing quality and integrity are crucial for building trust and credibility. Continuous learning and staying abreast of industry trends enable entrepreneurs to stay competitive and drive growth. Ultimately, entrepreneurship is about making a positive impact and creating value.