upGrad enters 15 Indian States with its 100% Vidya Shakti Scholarship program for first-gen women learners

Mumbai, 8 March 2022: upGrad, Asia’s higher Edtech leader, in a remarkable move to support India’s women learners with the best education avenues, launches 100% Vidya Shakti Scholarships. To encourage women to pursue learning and employment opportunities, the scholarship aims to offer quality higher education to the first generation and tribal women learners, women from the Armed force & Police force, female NGO workers, female journalists across tier 2 cities and beyond, and female wards of Defence & Police personnel, along with the blue-collared women candidates across Bharat.

Spearheaded by Dr. Sanjay Kumar of upGrad, the Higher Edtech company has partnered with 10+ renowned NGOs including, SEWA Bharat, Vidya Poshak, Telangana Social Welfare Residential Degree College, Anvarat Foundation, VigyanShaala, Yuwa India, Eklavya Foundation and Welspun Foundation among others, for the inaugural batch of women candidates in less-privileged circumstances who have been nominated for the scholarship program based on their meritocracy. These candidates will be offered upGrad programs across Data Science and Digital Marketing disciplines as per their preferences, along with 1:1 mentorship and coaching facilities which will help them develop requisite domain knowledge and industry-driven skill sets at zero cost.

Commenting on the same, Dr. Sanjay Kumar, President – Corporate Affairs & Public Policy, upGrad said, “There’s a significant gender disparity that exists within the country especially when it comes to receiving higher education, due to lack of opportunities or even social challenges. Making it our due responsibility, we want Indian women to flourish, with equal opportunities if not more. Our Vidya Shakti Scholarship is a sincere effort to make quality learning opportunities a reality for millions of women who are neither unaware of the opportunities nor given enough freedom to learn and grow as per their willingness. It’s our endeavor to empower these women with the latest subject knowledge and skill-sets so that they can make informed career choices and attain economic independence.”

Through NGO partnerships nationwide, the Scholarship is designed to support women learners with the right job-ready skills and in-depth subject knowledge, to also accelerate female employment within the country.

“These scholarships are extremely important as there is a huge gap between the skills that girls have and their aspirations. Secondary and higher education has increased tremendously among girls in the last 15 years and paradoxically the work force participation has fallen, one reason being that school and college education does not meet market needs. With upGrad’s Vidya Shakti Scholarship, these poorer girls, first generation learners, will be able to get jobs they aspire to,” added Renana Jhabvala, Chairperson, SEWA Bharat.

The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a serious blow and disproportionately impacted women learners across levels, especially the ones who were totally dependent on the offline system. Therefore, realising the criticality of the situation, the Vidya Shakti Scholarship is created with a mission to support million women candidates who come from the remotest parts of the country. As a starter, upGrad commits to empower over 15,000 women candidates over the next 3 years with its courses that will be offered under the 100% and up to 70% fee waiver categories.

“The blueprint has taken shape and we are extremely proud to initiate this movement, which will drive positive social change and add value to these learners and their families. We want to enable the aspirational successes of our women learners, especially the ones who qualify as the first-generation learners of their families. While we have started the first leg of the program with a limited reach and will scale up this initiative over the next 3 years to make it a national level program. We want to empower India’s women with world-class education for unleashing their highest potential,” concluded Mayank Kumar, Co-Founder & MD, upGrad.