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  • Writer's pictureThinkCap Advisors

Building Futures: Education as the Preferred CSR Spending Focus




Introduction


Education has emerged as one of the top sectors attracting CSR funding in India. As per financial year (2021-2022) companies have spent over 6000 crores on education and special education, with an additional 1000 crores being allocated to vocational skill development.

According to the World Population Fund, 26% of India's population falls within the age group of 10 to 24, while another 24% falls within the age group of 0 to 14. This means that 50% of India's population is below the age of 25. Therefore, significant emphasis must be placed on education, to ensure that India's emerging youth are employable.


If we closely analyze the projects of some top companies spending their CSR funds in education, we can identify some key focus areas:


  • Improving School Infrastructure - By leveraging CSR funds, corporations are partnering with local authorities and non-profit organizations to build schools, classrooms, libraries, and laboratories. These efforts not only enhance access to education but also create conducive learning environments that foster student engagement and academic excellence. The focus is also to transform traditional schools into smart schools, equipping teachers with innovative teaching methodologies.

  • Empowering Educators - CSR initiatives offer a viable solution by supporting teacher training programs aimed at enhancing pedagogical skills, subject knowledge, and classroom management techniques. Collaborating with educational institutions and expert trainers, corporations are facilitating workshops, seminars, and online courses to empower educators with the tools and knowledge necessary to deliver quality education.

  • Supporting Education with Technology – Whether it is supporting IIT-JEE aspirants with online learning resources, class recordings or mock tests or establishing digital libraries, technology can help cater to diverse learning styles. Also, through strategic partnerships with ed-tech companies and educational institutions, corporations are leveraging technology to democratize access to quality education.

  • Skill Development – Vocational skills is another area where forward looking companies are putting a lot of focus. Vocational training makes the youth employment ready - by bridging the gap between ‘employers’ needs and available skills.


Read More On CSR Thematic Areas, Trends & Spending


Examples of Education Focused CSR Programs


  1. TCS Ignite My Future (https://tinyurl.com/tcsprog): Ignite My Future in School is a pioneering effort to empower educators through a trans-disciplinary approach that integrates computational thinking into core subjects like English, Maths, Science, Art, and Social Studies. Computational thinking is a higher-level process, whereby students can learn how to collect and analyze data, find patterns, decompose complex problems, abstract, build models and develop algorithms

  2. Spark IT program (https://tinyurl.com/2458z562) - Infosys Foundation started the Spark-IT program. Meant for engineering students, the course is aimed to provide technology and communication skills training to those who consistently performed well academically.

  3. HDFC Bank Parivartan's (https://tinyurl.com/y4xpkjee) education programme focus on teacher training, scholarships, career guidance and infrastructure support.

  4. Tech Mahindra Shikshaantar (https://tinyurl.com/3a46np8d), In the domain of education, Shikshaantar is a flagship training program for school stakeholders including teachers, educators, school administrators and leaders to unleash their best potential for creating safer and happier classrooms.


Why Education is the Preferred CSR Thematic Area


As a CSR consulting services firm that has advised numerous corporates, we have observed specific reasons why education has emerged as the preferred sector for CSR spending:


  • Fundamental Societal Issue: Education remains a fundamental societal issue that requires attention. According to the Annual Status of Education Report 2023 (ASER: Beyond Basics), which surveyed 34,000 individuals aged 14-18 in rural India across 26 states, it was found that children still struggle with foundational skills such as reading and basic division. CSR funds, if invested wisely in result-oriented programs, can significantly improve learning outcomes.



  • Measurable Impact: Impact assessment is a major success metric for CSR programs and is also a reporting mandate as per the law. As a CSR consulting firm , having worked on multiple impact assessment assignments, we believe that it is easier to measure the impact of education-led interventions because key impact metrics are easier to measure compared to some other thematic areas.

  • Availability of Implementation Partners and Expertise: Another key factor is the availability of implementation partners and the requisite expertise to implement education-driven programs. There are a number of NGOs operating in the education space with the relevant expertise to implement programs effectively and demonstrate credible results.


Conclusion


Education has emerged as a top priority for CSR spending among Indian corporates, with significant funds allocated to primary, secondary, and vocational education. By focusing on improving school infrastructure, empowering educators, integrating technology, and supporting skill development, companies are making tangible contributions to address the educational needs of the nation. As a CSR consulting services firm, we recognize the pivotal role of education in societal development and advocate for continued investment in this critical area

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