Corporates chip in to give India the knowledge edge

It’s not just business. Education is very much on the agenda for India Inc. A number of Indian corporates have taken initiatives to uplift the state of education in the country, especially at the school level. These not only include large conglomerates like the Tatas, Birlas and Ambanis, but also firms like Bharti, Intel India, Microsoft, Wipro Technologies and Hero Honda, to name a few.

For instance, Bharti Foundation, the CSR arm of Bharti Airtel Enterprises, kicked off its Satya Bharti school program in 2006. Based on a PPP model, the initiative aims at adopting a number of government primary schools to provide quality education to the underprivileged children, especially the girl child. With more than 160 primary schools under its gamut already, the program aims to benefit over 2,00,000 children through more than 500 schools and 50 vocational institutions across India. The company’s promoters and its associates have committed more than Rs 200 crore in the initiative.

“With more than 300 million illiterate children in India in the age group of 7 years and above, providing access to quality education is a major challenge for the country. We believe that this initiative will provide an opportunity to thousands of underprivileged children to be a part of mainstream education and offer them with a platform to participate in the nation’s economic growth. Fifteen thousand children will pass out every year having gained experience in vocational training which will make them employable,” says Bharti Enterprises vice-chairman Rakesh Bharti Mittal.

Hero Honda Motors, too, has contributed under the Raman Kant Munjal Foundation engaged in the areas of education, healthcare, humanity and community development. The Raman Munjal Vidya Mandir, which began with three classes and 55 students in the 1990s on the Delhi-Jaipur highway, has now grown into a modern Senior Secondary, CBSE affiliated co-educational school with over 1,600 students and 75 teachers. The group also encourages vocational training and skill development programs, especially for the girls.

IT companies like Wipro, Intel and Microsoft have also done their bit in primary education. The Azim Premji Foundation, for example, has carried out a series of initiatives which includes the learning guarantee program, the child-friendly school program, technology initiatives and education management programming at making school education more child friendly by using various innovative learning methods. The foundation has also partnered with the Karnataka government and surveyed over 500 school development monitoring committees (parent-teacher) across the state to research and recommend steps for more effective composition in education.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has Project Shiksha, under the Partners in Learning initiative. Announced in June 2008, the Partners in Learning 2.0 is planned with an investment of $20 million in India. The company plans to partner with governments, educational institutions like the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Madarsas, and other government school to address the national educational priorities over the next five years.

“The vision Microsoft has for education in India is driven by the shared belief that the use of technology in education can help remove limitations, foster innovation, and enable students and teachers to achieve their fullest potential. Through Partners in Learning, Microsoft seeks to use IT as the catalyst enable a knowledge-driven society in India where technology is an integrated part of the learning experience,” says Microsoft group director-public sector Karan Bajwa.

Intel, too, has also invested over $1 billion globally in education. According to the company, Intel’s employees have put over two million hours to improve education in over 50 countries across the world. Through its Intel Teach program, the company has trained millions of teachers in schools across the country to pass on computer education to their students.

Courtesy :- Economic Times

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