CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility, as the name suggests, is an idea in which an individual or corporate or business follows a business model which enhances the growth of both the company and the society at large. It is necessary to maintain a balance between the economy and society in today’s time. CSR in the education sector requires companies to acknowledge that they should be publicly accountable not only for their financial performances but also for their social and environmental records.
Main development goals of CSR include
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Provide universal primary education to all the children
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Improve maternal health
- Reduce child mortality
- Combat fatal diseases like malaria, HIV-AIDS, etc
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership
The four dimensions of CSR
1. Discretionary Responsibility
This involves philanthropy. It means giving money, time or in-kind to charity.
2. Ethical Responsibility
It is about the responsibility to avoid harm or injury. So it creates a good and safe environment for people to work in.
3. Legal Responsibility
It means to earn profits using legal means and within the jurisdiction of the law. The practice of unlawful activities is illegal in corporate.
4. Economic Responsibility
These include activities like state contracts and state subsidies, economic regulations and tax incentives, intellectual property rights, patents, etc. Economic impact through activities like outsourcing, knowledge innovation and social investments.
One of the best ways to enhance the company’s reputation and brand value is by incorporating corporate social responsibility in the business model. Therefore, many companies are investing in the education sector and including CSR in the education of the youth.
Government schemes for CSR in the education sector
Education is the most treasured jewel anybody can own and a basic human right according to our constitution. However, it is disheartening that even today, many children are deprived of this amenity. Education is the backbone of any economy in this world. Yet, it is a dream for many. But our government has taken up many measures and launched many schemes to improve the quality of education in India.
One of them is the “Sarva Siksha Abhiyan” which has been operational since 2000-2001. It aims at providing free and compulsory education to the children falling in the age group of 6 to 14 years. Additionally, the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) scheme of 2009 provides access to secondary schools. However, the drop in the ratio of the students from schools is still high. Even today, the education of girls in rural areas is against societal rules.
Corporate plays a very vital role in improving the quality of education in India. Many corporate have joined hands with the government to make this dream come true.
Let’s have a look at how Corporate has executed CSR in education
1. Activities of CSR in the Education sector by Infosys
At Infosys, the distribution of wealth is as important as its legal and ethical creation. The Infosys Foundation, set up in 1996 as a not-for-profit trust supports the social initiatives taken up by the company. The Foundation supports programs and organizations devoted to the cause of the destitute, the rural poor, the mentally challenged, and the economically disadvantaged sections of the society. In addition to this, the Foundation also helps preserve certain cultural forms and dying arts of India.
Through their Computers@classrooms initiative launched in January 1999, a donation of over 2,567 computers to various institutions across India was done. Additionally, they make donations of computers and other amenities to many educational institutions.
Infosys also formed the “Education & Research” group which has the pride of anchoring the Infosys Extension Program (IEP). It consists of the Infosys Fellowship Program, Rural Reach program, Catches Them Young and Trains the Trainer. Therefore, the role of Infosys is quite significant in the incorporation of CSR in the education sector.
2. Activities of CSR in the Education sector by Dell
This organization has gone beyond funding to create comprehensive programs that aim to transform the communities as a whole. It believes that its employees should use their unique skills and expertise to support the causes they’re most passionate about. It encourages youth learning. There are 72 million children worldwide who are cannot go to school and lack access to the facilities, good quality teachers and the technology they need for a better education.
Dell believes that access to education and technology is a right and a necessity for all mankind. It incorporates CSR in the education of the children to do so. Dell provides grant funding, as well as the latest technology. Dell also addresses any basic or community needs that might restrain a child’s ability to learn, for example, food or security. A local Dell manager deploys and upkeeps the Dell systems and solutions, and local team members volunteer their time to support the organization’s needs. This shared responsibility between Dell and the community, supported by Dell volunteers brings about real learning opportunities and change.
3. Activities of CSR in the Education sector by Merck Serono
Programs that ensure basic education and decent livelihood for children from underprivileged families have been adopted for the CSR in the education sector by this company.
Merck India Charitable Trust Scholarship Program was established in 2005 under which 225 students in undergraduate studies in Mumbai and 50 students from Goa in 2015 have been helped. The distribution of school uniforms to students in Goa was also done. A very important and amazing fact is that there have been no dropouts since the inception of the program. Hence, the program was able to change the lives of many children by its proper enforcement. Early scholars of this program are working for international organizations. Merck India Charitable Trust is a self-funding organization since 2010.
Active Kids for Active India Initiative with Magic Bus (NGO) was adapted to support 600 students. It aimed at equipping children with life skills, hygiene awareness, and equal rights awareness through the medium of sport. Also, employees were made to interact with the students through the medium of various sports activities arranged by the organization in this positive direction. Other CSR activity includes a donation of study material etc.
Support for schools in Jharkhand is another initiative taken up by this company. Three schools for basic education run by the NGO IGEP for the benefit of children of mineworkers who may otherwise have worked in the mines were established under the endeavor. Also, it sponsors 55 students in the RP Modi international school who ensure that students do not drop out of the school for a lack of resources.
4. Activities of CSR in the Education sector by ITC
ITC’s Primary Education Programme addresses the lack of quality in primary education in rural communities. It aims to strengthen the government’s primary schools’ vast network thus including CSR in the education of these young minds. It has by far helped by stemming drop-outs, increasing enrolments and improving learning outcomes.
Government schools provide age-appropriate infrastructural facilities ranging from separate toilets for boys and girls, boundary walls, drinking water stations, and furniture. In addition to this, focus on sanitation and health has increased. Students and teachers are trained on WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) principles, and students are motivated to form WATSAN (Water and Sanitation) Committees and Child Cabinets to take ownership of WASH areas in schools, helping to promote behavioral change among children in their formative years.
The Programme also works to strengthen school management committees and build capacity among teachers to ensure that infrastructure can be sustainably maintained in the long run. But the participation of the parents is also necessary. So that we can develop collaborative partnerships that ensure that more and more children can complete their schooling.
The ‘Read India Plus’ initiative, in partnership with the NGO, Pratham, was introduced in 2013. It uses an innovative pedagogy to gear up towards helping children between the ages of 6-14 years. The aim was to achieve all five competencies – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing and Doing. ITC’s Primary Education program has covered over 460,000 students to date. Also, more than 1,320 government primary schools have been provided infrastructural support.
It is clear that it is of utmost importance to take up initiatives such as CSR in education to improve education standards in India. Companies and organizations in association with the government are putting their best foot forward for the same. Incorporating CSR in the education sector is the right step in this direction. As citizens of India, we should also work for the betterment of our nation.