On December 18, 2013, Central Square Foundation, the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs and Teach For India jointly hosted a convening in Delhi aimed at deepening corporates’ understanding of the education sector and opportunities for corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The roundtable was organised in response to the new Section 135, Companies Act 2013 on Corporate Social Responsibility, which has the potential to catalyse significant and necessary improvement in India’s education system. The event brought together leaders from corporations, NGOs and government to discuss blueprints for scalable and impactful CSR.
In the opening session, Shaheen Mistri, CEO of Teach For India and Founder of the Akanksha Foundation, and Anu Aga, MP (Rajya Sabha), Chairperson of Teach For India and Ex-Chairperson of Thermax, provided an introduction to the education landscape and highlighted challenges and opportunities in the context of the Right to Education Act and the new Companies Act.
Next, a panel session moderated by Ashish Dhawan, Founder and CEO of Central Square Foundation, examined interventions within education that are important for bringing about a shift in quality and encouraged companies to think beyond infrastructure. The panelists –Ajay Batra, Head of Advocacy and Quality Systems at Azim Premji Foundation, Amitav Virmani, Country Director of Absolute Return for Kids (ARK), George Abraham, Founder of Score Foundation, and Prachi Windlass, Country Director for Education at Michael & Susan Dell Foundation – suggested a number of other areas for corporate support. Panelists discussed critical interventions including teacher and school leader training, student learning assessments, inclusion programming and public-private partnership schools.
A second panel, moderated by Nikhil Pant, Chief Programme Executive of the National Foundation for CSR, discussed the role of partnerships between Government, NGOs and corporations in bringing about change in education. The panelists – Loveleen Kacker, CEO of the Tech Mahindra Foundation, Neelam Gupta, Founder, President and CEO of AROH Foundation, Ruma Roka, Chief Executive of Noida Deaf Society, Vandana Chanana, General Manager or Corporate Communications and CSR at GAIL (India) Limited, Vijay Chadda, CEO of Bharti Foundation and Vivek Sharma, Program Director at the Kaivalya Education Foundation – highlighted strategies for effective collaboration and encouraged companies to consider non-financial contributions in conjunction with their financial support.
Dr. Bhaskar Chatterjee, Director General and CEO of the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, gave the vote of thanks.