CSF and FICCI launch report on the role of Corporate Social Responsibility in promoting quality school education in India

New Delhi, November 12, 2014: Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Central Square Foundation (CSF) launched a report today that highlights the role of corporate philanthropy in promoting quality school education in India. The report titled ‘Taking a Strategic Approach to CSR in Education’ was launched at a roundtable conference that was organised jointly by FICCI and CSF.

The report, “Investment in Learning: Promoting Quality School Education through Corporate Social Responsibility”, aims to guide companies who are preparing or revising their corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies on how they can use their contributions for maximising impact.

Over the years, government policies have focused on improving access to education and infrastructure in schools. To capitalise on these positive developments, improvements in the quality of education are essential. The CSR mandate of the Companies Act, 2013 is an opportunity to catalyse critical improvement in India’s education system and set new benchmarks for the role that business can play in contributing to social change.

Emphasising the need for corporate houses to view CSR as a strategic investment, Ashish Dhawan, Chair, FICCI School Education Committee and Founder and CEO, Central Square Foundation, said, “Even with the mandatory 2% spend, India’s CSR spend will only be a drop in the ocean when compared to the Government, which currently spends INR 3.6 lakh crore annually on education. Businesses need to approach their CSR funds more strategically and view CSR efforts as R&D by piloting innovative models and gathering evidence of the impact. Government support can be sought for scaling up smaller operative models to create larger social impact”.

The report highlights key strategic areas within education for corporate involvement. These areas are indicative of issues that can have impact on scale and need investment for innovation. For instance, through public private partnerships in schools, corporates can fund innovate schools that are finding new ways to introduce quality into the government school system.  The report also looks at areas such as corporate support for remedial learning programs and early childhood education that will lay a stronger base for students to improve their learning outcomes.

The launch of the report was followed by a panel discussion. The panelists  – Abhijit Banerjee, Co-founder and Director, J-PAL; Debasish Mitter, Country Director, India, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation; Paresh Parasnis, Head, Piramal Foundation; and Vijay Chadda, Chief Executive Officer, Bharti Foundation – stressed the need for collecting evidence on the impact of CSR interventions, and offered insights to participating CSR Heads and business leaders on how they can maximise social returns on their CSR contributions.

To access the complete report Investment in Learning: Promoting Quality School Education through Corporate Social Responsibility, please visit here.

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