Lending a hand, the Titan way
The Titan Scholarship Scheme is unique in not just its impact, but also its process. Driving this remarkable initiative is a group of middle-level managers, who are taking the time, to make a difference...
There are very few things that Malathi loves as much as the beautiful kolams, she draws in front of the house door, each morning, the light of just-rising sun streaming through the courtyard onto the rice-flour floor patterns. That and wearing flowers in her hair: jasmine, rose, hibiscus, and her favourite, chrysanthemums. But then there’s one thing that she loves even more: math. That’s why, next month, Malathi is heading off to college in the big city. She will be not just the first girl in her family to pursue higher education: she will be the only person in her village to have ever gone to college.
The Titan Scholarship Scheme was formally launched in 1992, with the objective of identifying and encouraging meritorious students who were economically underprivileged. Since then, over 1500 students of ITI, Diploma, Engineering, Medicine and Arts and Science Graduates have till date benefited from this scheme.
Initially, the area of intervention was restricted to Dharmapuri, a designated backward district of Tamil Nadu. Today, the scheme encompasses several states, with particular focus in Uttarakhand. Along the lines of Titan’s Affirmative Action (AA) initiative, the scholarship scheme lays a special focus on girls, first generation students, SC/ST communities, the differently abled, as well as students who are orphans or come from broken homes.
The grants are the culmination of a rigorous procedure that is designed to reach to the neediest students. Applications are invited through several modes of communication, including advertisements in print media as well as posters in schools and colleges. This is followed by short-listing of candidates, scrutiny of marks obtained, evaluation of social and economic status and finally a ‘face-to-face’ interview by subject matter experts in the relevant fields. The Interview panel consists of key middle level managers of the company and HR managers.
In addition to emphasis on socio-economic status, general awareness, academic achievements and aptitude to use the scholarship in an effective manner, the selection criteria also looks at ambition, drive, societal concerns and values. Selected candidates are further empowered through motivation and orientation sessions.
A unique cross functional committee has been dedicated to overseeing the implementation of the scheme, as well as regularly assessing scope of improvement. The committee appoints ‘Scholarship Region Anchors,’ who are responsible for effectively communicating and implementing the process in their respective regions. Like all of Titan’s CSR initiatives, the scholarship scheme is also ably supported by the passion of our people. The scheme committee typically consists of several key middle management executives who are specialists in a given field. For instance, the chief medical officer is responsible for selecting candidates in the medical field while department engineers help shortlist candidates for engineering discipline. This has not only enabled the involvement of ‘Subject Matter Experts’ in the selection process, but has also encouraged a sense of societal commitment amongst our managers. Till date, more than 50 managers and executives have been involved in this process by rotation. The scheme’s impact is also periodically assessed, with the help of third party volunteers and professionals.