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Corporate Social Responsibility can be defined as, “A company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates. Companies express this citizenship through their waste and pollution reduction processes, by contributing educational and social programs and by earning adequate returns on the employed resources.” The term "corporate social responsibility" became popular in the 1960s and has remained a term used indiscriminately by many to cover legal and moral responsibility more narrowly construed.
As mentioned above the term CSR deals with various environmental, social and ecological responsibilities.
The following article focuses on the “CSR in EDUCATION” i.e. investment of the corporates in the education sector.
India is a home to around 400 million children out of which about 100 million have no access to quality education, which means 1 in every 4 children in India has the privilege of education. While the world literacy rate stands at about 84%, India which is the second largest populated country in the world, its average literacy rate lies below that of 74%. That might not seem to have a great difference but when calculated to actual numbers it does make a “huge” one. About 80 Million children in India are not even fortunate enough to complete elementary school. Drop -out rates among girls is as high as 64%.
There are many factors that affect the literacy rates in India. Some of these could be:
⇒ Usefulness of education and availability of schools in the vicinity in rural areas.
⇒ Shortage of classrooms to accommodate all the students in a particular area.
⇒ Improper sanitation in most schools. (A study of about 188 primary schools revealed that 59% of schools had no drinking water facility and about 89% had no toilet facilities. Imagine, as high as 89% schools have no toilet facilities, which is definitely a major drawback for the society.)
⇒ Shortage of teachers in rural areas.
⇒ Expenditure Allocation in Education sector (despite the target of 6%, from 1951 to 2002, only 4.3% of the total GDP was allocated towards the education sector)
⇒ Caste Disparities, discrimination of the lower caste has resulted in high drop- out rates and low enrollment rates.
⇒ POVERTY, The MRP-based (mixed recall period) poverty estimates of about 22% of poverty in 2004–05 which translated to 22 out of per 100 people are not meeting their basic needs, much less than meeting the need for education.
This is when the corporate social responsibility plays a major role in expanding the Education sector and one of the companies helping do the same is MERCK – A leading Science and technology company.
Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science, and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions.
Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group.
While being active since 1967, Merck expanded its business in India by the turn of 20th century and with that came the sense of responsibility towards the society. Guided by Merck’s values and the organization's global commitment to the UNITED NATIONS GLOBAL COMPACT; Merck India Charitable Trust, since its inception in 2005, has helped over 200 underprivileged youth to achieve their dreams. Their promise to “MAKE GREAT THINGS HAPPEN” successfully fulfills by assisting talented students through scholarships and encouraging them to pursue higher education.
When a student is chosen by MICT for their scholarship approval, it does not focus on lending a helping hand on just one occasion. Instead, MICT makes sure to be there for the student and be his/her financial aid for as long as he/she wants to study. Not only does this reduce the number of people dropping out due to lack of funds but it also allows the promising minds of the country to build their future and be a great contribution to the society in the future. MICT eases the economic concerns facing a student making him/her focus on education and opening door to greater dreams.
MICT’S criteria for selecting students for its scholarship is really simple and straight forward:
⇒ The student should have successfully cleared class 10th (SSC board) with a minimum of 80%
⇒ The student should be a resident of Mumbai/Navi Mumbai/Thane area only.
⇒ Family income should be less than INR 10000.
Every year during the time of SSC board result's declaration MICT invites applications for the scholarships, to which about a hundred students apply out of the many. From these 30 to 40 students are selected to meet with the Board of Trustees. The Board then selects 25 students for scholarships on the basis of a personal interview.
MICT believes in “MAKING THE IMPOSSIBLE, POSSIBLE”.
There are many other companies who invest in CSR initiatives in education in India. Edu4Sure also needs support from such companies to take education for all.
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