The Free Press Journal Scholarship Awards: Creating youth leaders for changing the future of India

Mumbai: Students of different management and business schools were honoured with the Free Press Journal (FPJ) Scholarship Awards in association with the Higher Education Forum (HEF) scholarships on November 24 at ITM Business School, Navi Mumbai. Like every year, students gathered to celebrate the National Education Day and appreciate academic achievements in various fields of study.

A total of 15 awards were given away this year wherein 13 students were awarded FPJ Management and HEF Scholarships. Two personnel were honoured with the Entrepreneurship award for their path breaking ventures and excellence in business entrepreneurship. The year marked the ninth annual The Free Press Journal Management Scholarships and the fifth annual Higher Education Forum Scholarships.

The FPJ Management Scholarships was set up in association with HEF as part of its initiative to encourage education and an effort to provide a platform for interested students. In the same spirit, the HEF also established the HEF Scholarship to provide financial impetus to some motivated students.

The entrepreneurship award has been initiated by HEF in the name of Sri Pralhad P. Chhabria Memorial Award for Entrepreneurship instituted by Prof Aruna Katara, President IIT, Pune, in the memory of her (late) father, Shri Pralhad P Chhabria, Founder Chairman of Finolex Group of Industries.

With a cultural start by the lighting of the lamp and honouring the national anthem, the event was inaugurated by the faculty of ITM Business School. Dr. Lakshmi Mohan, Director of ITM Business School, Navi Mumbai gave the welcome speech quoting “It’s all within us–leadership is embedded in us.” The welcome address led the event into a panel discussion on ‘Youth Leadership in Changing India’ to encourage students to become future leaders.

Post the discussion, Dr. A. K. Sen Gupta, Founder and Convener of HEF, drew light on the history of the awards, contributors, donors, initiators and beneficiaries. Gupta said, “We want to help students to become future leaders. We want to support students who wish to become entrepreneurs and start a venture. Around 80 to 90 students have been supported in the last eight years of these awards and scholarships.”

Gupta further added, “The future of our country lies in the hands of students. We want to enhance the input and output of students to make them professionally competent. Today, students have dreams and they should follow it with zeal and passion. Through this scholarship award and a cash prize, we want to give a little push to students who can then try new achievements. It is not about the money as the amount is minimum but we want to motivate students to perform better.”

Professor Aruna Katara, a senior educationist, motivated students to climb up the ladder of success and not settle for anything. Katara said, “Do not be content or satisfied and do not settle. Keep trying new things and climb up the ladder of success. Students should embrace opportunities to learn new things, gain new experiences and become successful.”

As a reward to the education fraternity, the FPJ has been instrumental in encouraging the growth of education. Abhishek Karnani, Director of FPJ, encouraged the students stating, “Students should play hard, study hard and work hard. Students should enjoy their phase of learning and make the most of it by gaining new experiences. We aim to support students in their endeavours for a bright future.”

Ravindra Kulkarni, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Mumbai University (MU), said, “The job scenario is changing as new jobs are being created. Students are also upgrading themselves with the advancement of science and technology. New sectors like Artificial Intelligence (AI) are gaining impetus and it is great to witness that students are keen towards studying these new fields.”

While R Kannan, Head of Corporate Performance Management, Hinduja Group, expressed, “Changes are expected in the education system and students need to move with changing trends. The number of job opportunities has increased considerably and students have a lot of opportunities now.” While N M Kondap, former Vice Chancellor of NMIMS University, said, “It is a great initiative by FPJ and HEF to motivate young students who want to make a change as students are always in need of a platform to showcase their academic skills.”

With over 120 students who attended the event, the program ensued with the distribution of Free Press Journal Scholarship Awards and Late Shri P P Chhabria Memorial Awards for Entrepreneurship. The event was attended by over 180 delegates comprising mainly of educationists, faculty, and students from various institutions.

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