Strategies to Consider for CSR in School Education

If you are thinking to commit CSR funds for improvement of a school and want to go beyond upgrading the infrastructure and add value to the educational ecosystem it is very essential to understand in detail how those who have secured such educational systems in the world actually did it.


In India, to open a school is a challenging task and amidst the need of official permissions and bureaucratic mechanism involved, the average school promoter could hardly find time or will to look at the raised bars of education. When an enterprise is proactively investing CSR funds it must make sure to incorporate what has originally been omitted - sound data on prevalent practices in school education from best practitioner nations.

The information that follows is of great relevance to the entrepreneurs who have selected school education as their field of social contribution.  As industrialists, you must have compared economic attributes of different nations. By having a look at how the different economies of the world have framed their education structure, you will be able to discern the critical measures or derive certain thumb rules of CSR intervention in education.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) releases its annual Global Competitiveness Report on the state of the economies of the world. The report comes after the forum assesses the abilities of the countries in order to provide a higher level of ability to its citizens which generally depend on how a country manages its available resources among which the human resources are of critical import.

Ranking of the countries is based on twelve indicators which include primary education too. Prior to any CSR initiative made in the field of improvement of the quality of education the following data must be reviewed. It will really be of aid in understanding the values and structure of education, so you can intervene productively.

Japan: a knowledge economy, can easily be said to have an education system to reckon with. it leads in terms of literacy, science, and math education among the OECD group.

Students in Japan undergo six years of elementary school, three years of junior high school, and three years of high school before they decide whether or not they want to pursue the university education. Although high school is not compulsory in Japan yet the enrolment in high school is close to 98%.

Barbados: The government of this small island country stresses on education exceptionally. That has resulted in a literacy rate of 98% which is one of the highest in the world and an enviable education system.

New Zealand: Primary and secondary education in New Zealand ranges between the age 5 to age 19, and the school remains compulsory between ages 6 and 16. The 3 types of secondary schools in New Zealand include state schools –roughly equivalent to our government schools, state integrated schools; which can be understood as sort of PPP schools and the last category is that of private schools.

The contrast with the Indian education system is inescapable given the fact that state schools which educate approximately 85% of students and private schools only educate 3 %.

Estonia: This European union country spends 4% of its Gross Domestic Product on education Estonia’s  education act states that “the goals of education are to create an environment that encourages proper development of personality, family, and growth of the Estonian nation, to encourage the development of ethnic minorities, economic, political as well as the cultural life in Estonia and to teach the children of the country the value of their citizenship.” This gives an insight into the characteristics of the education system which emphasizes on equality of opportunity, something which we are struggling to bring even with RTE and SSA.

Ireland:  Ireland presents a unique picture among others we have discussed. Most of the secondary schools in Ireland are owned and managed privately but they remain funded by the state only; it is plausible to equate them with PPP schools. This in itself is a prospect that can be further researched and selectively applied in Indian scenario with the support of the corporates.

Qatar: Besides measures to diversify the economy which requires a skilled human resource, Qatar is paying a lot of attention to improve its educational standards as part of the Qatar Vision 2030 programme. The education is completely free for the Qatari citizens but children coming from the families of other nationalities have to send their kids to private schools. like in other Gulf countries Indian diaspora is interested in giving their children Indian education and are opening schools affiliated to CBSE and ICSE, which are indeed very popular. Funders can learn a lot by analyzing the factors that make the difference and come up with solutions to replicate it.

Netherlands:  The children of the Netherlands were judged to be the” happiest” in the world in a 2013 study conducted by UNICEF. This, according to some analysts, reflect that the education system is optimal and efficient. Schools are not allowed to give much homework until the students reach secondary level resulting in less stress and pressure among them.

Singapore: India has scored dismally low in the Programme for International Student Assessment test (PISA), Singapore scored tremendously high in PISA. An evaluation of education to ascertain the quality is in order and funds may be channeled to that end.

Belgium: Belgium’s education system is divided into 4 different kinds of secondary schools, which are general secondary schools, the technical secondary schools, vocational secondary education schools, and the art secondary education institutes. The private schools are available to all children between the ages of 4 and 18, at a very little or no cost at all.

Switzerland: As opposed to India, a meager 5% of children attend private schools in Switzerland. Switzerland offers multiple languages according to different regions of Switzerland, with German, French or Italian being the most common medium of instruction. the point is to make the instruction comprehensible to children from across the social realms. Measures which can do the same can be facilitated by the corporates while helping schools to elevate the quality of education in India.

Finland: Finland’s education system and its results assure its top position in the rankings of global education systems. The school education is particularly known for having no categories among students which clearly means that all pupils, regardless of their ability, are taught in the same classes. The Indian education system also has the same classes for all students, bright or otherwise, but the pedagogy tends to tilt towards the need of the bright students. While in Finland, the gap between the weakest and the strongest student remains substantially less. In fact, India would rank high in academic performance variation in a class, if there is an evaluation measuring inequity.

Finland’s education system can generate several replicable versions of teacher’s attitudes and approaches. Corporates can evaluate the education system of Finland and incorporate elements in their sponsored education teacher training programmes to great consequence.

So before the enterprises design an initiative to intervene in the community by improving the standards of education, it is good idea to study the facts in detail about the various education systems that exist globally and then take the best cue from them and plan the operationalization of the initiative by emulating what’s worth and avoiding what the study cautions against.


Vinod Kakumanu

Vinod Kakumanu

Founder & Consultant - School Serv

Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.

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