Recently, Newgen Software released its first annual CSR report. As the name suggests, Newgen provides software applications and digital solutions for businesses in areas such as business process management, enterprise content management, customer communication management, and case management. The company’s CSR mission is to actively contribute to the social and economic development of the communities in which it operates and to protect and safeguard the environment and maintain ecological balance.
Newgen had invested Rs 10.05 million for its CSR in the last FY. Its main CSR programmes are:
1. Digital Discovery Pathshala: The Newgen Digital Discovery Pathshala (NDDP) is the digital education programme to develop e-learning skills amongst students and impart knowledge in schools through web-based technology. The Digital Pathshala facilitators teach textbook concepts digitally, using various methodologies such as role plays, quiz sessions, movies and presentations. The targeted schools were chosen on the basis of certain parameters – for example, these have classes at least up to the 8th grade, there are over 500 regular students, the students are from underprivileged backgrounds, etc.
Aside from providing infrastructural support (tables, computer lab, iPads, etc.), content and lesson plans based on the NCERT syllabus in both English and Hindi, for classes 6th and 7th (and now 8th as well), are drawn up and imparted using various audio-visual mediums. To this, additional informative content is added to enhance the quality and relevance of the presentation. For instance, a presentation on crop production will also have an introduction to GM seeds and organic farming.
Newgen facilitators, who conduct these classes on science, social science and GK five days a week, have been selected after an extensive set of interviews to gauge their experience, passion and energy for working with school children.
Tests and re-tests are done to assess performance. The school has already divided every class into two categories, Pratibha and Nishtha. Pratibha is the group of students who are currently performing well academically, while Nishtha includes students who will require extra effort to improve their performance.
Newgen’s assessment shows that for Class 6 there is a drop in performance from Term 1 to Term 3, while for Class 7 the reverse is true – that is, students show a marked improvement over time. This difference in outcomes is explained by factors such as Class 7 being a part of the three-month pilot conducted prior to the NDDP project and twice the number of NDDP sessions being allotted to it compared to Class 6. To provide additional help to the underperforming group, Newgen is conducting separate classes with simplified presentations, AVs, quizzes and test papers, and regular summer and winter camps to give them individual attention. The follow-up assessment has shown significant improvement.
During the academic year April 2016 to March 2017, over 900 students of classes 6 and 7 attended these sessions and this number has now grown to 1,300-plus. An impact report of the programme is published at the end of every year, based on the results and tests of the children.
2. Family home sponsorship: Started in 2014, this is in collaboration with SOS Children’s Villages for the holistic development of 30 children and their SOS mothers living in three family homes in Faridabad. Newgen has recently adopted three SOS homes in Bhopal as well.
The aim of this partnership is to support homeless and abandoned children by providing them long-term family-based care, basic amenities like nutritious food, clothing and shelter, healthcare, capacity-building programmes, career and psycho-social counselling, access to sports and extracurricular activities, and education.
Some of the positive impacts include four children completing their education and securing jobs in the last three years and significant improvement in health as measured through Hb (haemoglobin) count and BMI.
Clarifications related to claims such as ‘enhanced physical, psychological as well as social development of children due to their active engagement in co-curricular activities’ went unanswered though.
3. Personality development class: The ‘I AM’ personality development classes are for 12–18 year-old children of Sadbhavna Trust and SOS Youth
Hostel to help build their self-confidence and enable holistic development. Sadbhavna Trust was started in 2006 by Newgen volunteers and spouses to help underprivileged children through monthly Sadbhavna sessions, which provide tutorials for their curriculums, career guidance and personality development. These sessions give participants the opportunity to indulge in introspection, engage in group activities, and display teamwork and creativity. Each module includes an assessment pertaining to the concepts/skills covered.
Nearly 60 to 80 children attend these sessions. Some are now pursuing professional courses, while others have taken up part-time jobs. Many are still in school.
While there’s no clarity on what the company is doing for its other CSR mission of protecting the environment, it continues to provide midday meals to 1,000-plus school children in Mathura and has meanwhile adopted the Government Girls’ Senior Secondary school in Tekhand.
As per Priyadarshini Nigam, head of CSR, Newgen Software, ‘Interestingly, in April 2017 we had 1,500 children in the NDDP program. As of May 2018, we have 3,000 children attending NDDP sessions regularly. We plan to adopt more government schools in the coming years. I know it is going to be a long and challenging journey but I am sure it’ll be an interesting one!’