Some months back I wrote on LinkedIn about how CSR can change the face of Education if the investments are made in the right area. Here I reproduce the same.
CSR investment in education can greatly benefit the children of our country if they are made in the following domain areas:
1. Making the school an attractive place for children to attend in the first place. Programs like BALA help in this in a great way!
2. Invest in improving the willingness of children to attend school and parent to send them to school. This can be done through behavior change exercises in communities through programs like Magic Bus.
3. Improving the experience of teaching for the teachers by helping them build their capacities. A lot of teachers do not have any exposure apart from the degree that they completed decades back. Programs like the one run by Kaivalya Foundation can be of great help.
3. Improving learning levels of children and focusing on learning vs passing. This is possible through a lot of initiative including the likes of Naandi Foundation and RIVER.
4. Lastly, no CSR should be required to fund such programs in perpetuity. If efforts and investments are made to strengthen the SMCs in schools and making the community responsible for the quality of education in their schools, the face of education can be changed in 5 years.
One of the reasons practically no CSR program has proven record of definitely improving education at the school level is that most of them invest in one of these components but never in all at one location. Therefore we have case stories but never “REAL CHANGE”. One of the best ways to do it is for a consortium of companies (investors) to engage a consortium of NGOs (implementors) to deliver a high-quality multi-faceted program in all schools in a Mandal/Block/Taluq/Tehsil. There are about 5500 sub-districts in India and to support them we have about 5000+ companies and about 30 Lakh NGOs. All we need to do is get them to trust each other and collaborate.
The reason this has not happened so far and, in my opinion, unlikely to happen in the near future is that everyone (Companies and NGOs) want “SOLO CREDIT” for development and do not collaborate happily. If we can change this we could usher in a new way development happens in our country and in 5 years move from an “average” education system to a “great” one.