Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives in India’s education sector, reportedly, have seen a significant increase in the recent times. The credit goes to the companies that have chosen to fund a range of activities to spruce up the infrastructure as well as empower faculty and students. Several reputed companies such as Reliance, Wipro, Infosys, Mahindra & Mahindra, Bajaj Auto, and Samsung India, figure among the notable contributors, funding CSR initiatives in the educational sector.
CSR in education proves particularly satisfying as the initiatives when planned and executed effectively, can improve the quality of life of several families, especially, in areas where there is a distinct lack of educational infrastructure or presence of the large socio-economically disadvantaged communities. The tangible impact of a successful CSR project in education by itself is a motivation for companies to continue and extend such services to maximize their reach and benefits. Teaming up with an experienced and reputed CSR consulting firm such as Fiinovation, can help companies focus their attention on the right project.
Negligible Results Despite Highest Funding
According to the latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) released in January this year, there has been no encouraging improvement in the learning levels in schools across the country, despite the education being the highest CSR funded sector in 2016 (financial year). Statistics from the Prime Database reveals that a total amount of Rs. 2,042 crores were spent on education by 920 companies listed on the National Stock Exchange.
Interestingly, further research has revealed that most of the funds were directed towards improving school/college infrastructure, building new classrooms or renovating them, procuring new equipment, or constructing toilets, without being exclusively used to enhance the quality of education imparted at the different institutions of learning.
While it is indeed commendable to create comfortable and clean learning environments to promote education, there is much work to be done in terms of actually educating children/youngsters. Right from the basic tools and accessories such as textbooks, notebooks, stationery, school bags, as well as tuition fees, a host of other needs must be addressed to get children/youngster to first attend school or college and finish schooling without any inhibitions. The learning environment must be equally conducive to the educators or teachers to impart or share knowledge with the students, offering them a scope to improve their teaching skills and competencies while honing subject expertise as well.
Scholarships for deserving candidates to pursue higher education, intensive training programs for teachers to enhance their knowledge and teaching abilities, skill development programs, vocational training and other initiatives in the education sector that directly reach out to individuals, can make a great difference in their lives and the immediate society as well. These, of course, will not be possible without the infrastructure.
Selecting the right mix of projects that can really make a difference in the lives of students and teachers is the key to a successful CSR effort in education. CSR initiatives of a company typically span their area of operations, addressing challenges faced by people in the neighbourhood.
You may choose to start a school of your own in a town that has no infrastructure for primary or secondary school, you may improve the educational facilities at a nearby college, or you can offer scholarships to those students who cannot afford the hefty fees. The big question here is how effective or useful are your efforts going to be, other than meeting the CSR compliance?
Choosing the actionable areas and the causes demands a lot of groundwork. A well-designed plan of action, execution, and follow up, also prove equally demanding if not more. Services and guidance of a CSR consulting firm such as ours, with in-depth knowledge of the education sector, often prove valuable at all stages of the project, right from planning to execution and follow up. We, at Fiinovation, a well-established CSR consulting firm in India, are fully equipped to offer end-to-end services that help you run you CSR campaigns in a meaningful and successful manner.