Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) In Education: Why Invest In Educ…
Education is the most powerful tool to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty – it helps conquer inequalities, contributes inclusive development, accelerates social transformation and is basic to realise human possible towards economic progress.
Ours is the age of the knowledge economy. Only quality education for every child can help us unprotected to the goal of long-term economic and social equity we all are working towards.
India has taken genuine strides towards providing access to education for all in the last decade as the numbers indicate – 96% enrolment year on year, a public school within a kilometre radius across the country, improved student- teacher ratios – to name a few.
Education initiatives by the Indian Government
The Indian government has mounted several initiatives to ensure better education – extending from the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA). In addition to this, education has been one of the most popular causes for companies to sustain.
- From 2014 to 2015, 29% of the total CSR was spent on education and skills development initiatives.
- 385 out of 432 companies that reported on their CSR by November 2015 had some amount of spending in education – already higher than the number of companies spending in health.
Supporting education is one of the most lasting ways of contributing to nation building in India:
- Education is one of the greatest levers in overcoming inequalities and accelerating human development. A holistic education programme can provide a meaningful starting point in engaging with community development for companies across sectors and geographies.
- Industry being one of the foremost stakeholders in hiring skilled personnel, education programmes provide a leverage for companies to ensure that they are addressing the skill gaps effectively.
- Education initiatives in India have had a reasonable history of effective Government-corporate-civil society partnerships, which provides an basic foundation for corporates to bring in their domain skill and strengths in designing and implementing inventive solutions to enhance learning.
A Strategic Focus On Education CSR in India
With the options to invest in education being so great and different, one of the challenges we are often confronted with is – what are the considerations in laying out the roadmap of an effective, long-lasting education CSR program?
We are seeing companies trying to strike the balance between aligning their CSR strategies to their chief areas of skill and ensuring realization of a clear social need. Within the organization, there are varied priorities including compliance to the law, stakeholder engagement and ecosystem leadership.
In this scenario, we believe that the first step towards planning effective CSR in India is to decide the meaningful anchors that will determine the layout of the initiatives. Here are 3 meaningful anchors we believe keep up true for CSR planning across sectors:
The focus is on the communities around the areas of operation or manufacturing plants of the company (factories/campuses/warehouses etc). The focus could also be a certain demographic focus like girl children, tribal communities or people with disability.
The keep up in a place is a credible and reliable partner (Government program/non-profit) working on the focus area of education whose philosophies and approach align with the company’s thinking around investment. The CSR efforts will then be woven around the partner’s existing programs or new allied initiatives that the company can co-create with the partner.
This approach anchors the complete initiative around a specific social need. These needs can be based on internal priorities as agreed by the leadership team or can be based on national and international priorities (e.g. Sustainable Development Goals). The CSR efforts are then in deciding the character of intervention (own programme/existing non-profit partner programme), institutionalising demanding systems and processes to clarify and on-board the implementation partners, regular monitoring and uniform reporting.
Irrespective of the keep up in a place chosen, the first step in calculating the outlay of programmes in education CSR is conducting a comprehensive need assessment involving all stakeholders in the communities that the corporate has decided to work in. The need assessment points not just to basic gaps and possible points of collaboration, but more vitally, it points to the areas that the community considers as important. And this buy-in is basic to the deployment of any effective CSR programme in India.
Case Studies of Education CSR programs by Indian Corporates
Hindustan Zincâ€¨ – In partnership with the Vedanta Foundation, Hindustan Zinc contributes ECE by building Anganwadi and childcare centres in Rajasthan. Vedanta Foundation implements delivery models that have been rigorously tested in the field. For ECE, the Vedanta Balchetna Anganwadi Programmes trains teachers as counsellors and caretakers in addition.â€¨ The program has reached over 50,000 children aged 3 to 6 years while 4000 children are served by the Bal Chetna Anganwadi
HDFC Bank – HDFC Bank has paired up with Ashadeep Foundation to run 20 pre-schools in the slums of Delhi. The Galli School Project targets children whose parents are ragpickers, and gives the families a way to make sure their children are safe. Young women run the daycare centres out of their homes. Asha Creche is a newly developed programme to provide early childhood education. Almost 1000 students have been served by this programme in the last 4 years.
KC Mahindra Trust – Nanhi Kali is the flagship program of the KC Mahindra Trust. The project provides academic, material and social sustain that allows a girl child to access quality education, attend school with dignity and reduces the chances of her dropping out. Project Nanhi Kali is working with 19 NGO implementation partners at the grassroot level and today supports over 114,000 girls across 9 States in India and receives wide sustain from Mahindra employees, 300 corporate donors and 6000 individual donors. Many other companies have sought out Nanhi Kali as part of their CSR initiatives in addition, such as eClerx and the Capgemini Group. Several of these girls also receive scholarships from the education Trust.