Nearly 70% of India Inc plan to increase their corporate social responsibility (CSR) spending on education/skilling in the next fiscal year starting April, says a latest survey by TeamLease EdTech, a learning solutions firm.
Incidentally, a majority of these companies want to allocate funds towards imparting vocational skills, which is the need of the hour to address the rising unemployability.
The survey shows that companies are keen to dedicate funds towards projects that can create the maximum impact. They are directing a substantial chunk of their CSR funds towards imparting employability skills to school or college dropouts (22.8%), women (20.4%), and people with disabilities (18%).
The survey titled “Aligning education and skilling in the CSR agenda” was conducted with over 100 companies from across India analysing how corporate India is spending their CSR funds within the education/skilling cohort, key challenges in the process and the future aspirations of organisations while aligning their CSR agenda.
“India does not have a job crisis, rather a skill crisis – we don’t have enough employable talent to cater to the jobs that are there. Multiple measures have been taken to improve our education, but it is yet to solve the impending skill gap. We also face a high dropout crisis in higher education, further impacting employability. It is welcoming to see that corporates are looking at further increasing their spends in education/skilling- close to two third of the respondents are planning to invest further. The investments coupled with active participation will help in addressing the gaps and enable our youth to beat the root cause of poverty- unemployment,” said Shantanu Rooj, founder and CEO, TeamLease EdTech.
As per the survey, 95.83% of companies direct their CSR funds towards education, vocational skilling, livelihood improvement, followed by 50% for health, eradicating hunger, poverty and malnutrition, safe drinking water, and sanitation.
Just under half of the funds (45.83%) are also dedicated to initiatives that promote gender equality, women empowerment, old age homes, and on reducing inequalities.
In fact, organisations that channel their funds into multiple arenas also dedicate a portion towards education - 46% of the respondents stated that they deploy more than 50% of their funds towards skilling and education.
While the intention and efforts are quite strong, companies are confronted with many challenges, especially while implementing their CSR programmes.
“Accessibility, infrastructure, deployment continues to be a concern for companies. 70% of companies mentioned that connecting the right candidates to the right opportunities is their major perplexity. Additionally, 42% attributed lack of infrastructure as a cause for distress. Even the pandemic hindered organic implementation of the CSR programmes, especially reverse migration,” said Neeti Sharma, co-founder and president, TeamLease EdTech.
The optimism for CSR programmes towards skilling and education, however, is expected to continue in 2022. More than four-fifths (85%) companies have already revamped their CSR initiatives, aligned to Covid impact. Moreover, 80% companies have taken up special initiatives already to monitor and measure impact closely and 40% are even spending more to analyse the impact better, says the survey.