07 October 2016
The Confederation of Indian Industry, Western Region, recently hosted the ‘CSR Conclave 2016 : Innovative Approaches towards Nation Building’. Organised at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, the event focused on education, health and sanitation.
Mr Deepak Arora, CEO Essar Foundation chaired the plenary panel discussion, which deliberated upon the topic ‘Innovative Approaches towards Education’. Education has emerged as the most preferred area for CSR activities among Indian companies. This session aimed at compiling the best practices for educational and learning outcomes, within which CSR can play an important role. Any corporation entering the educational sector should ensure a close link between business and sustainability. The quality, access, and equity of education in India point towards a crucial space where companies can intercede to create an impact through Corporate Social Responsibility.
The discussion began with a presentation of the essential elements and gaps in the Indian education landscape, setting a context as to how and where the private sector can intervene. The government’s role in this setup was deliberated upon. In the discussion, Ananda Mahto, General Manager, Karadi Path Education Company Pvt. Ltd. presented various examples of innovations in education. Several innovations in education space do exist but there is a great need to synthesize learnings and scale them up. The discussion was concluded by Mr Arora, summing up the key points and sharing his views on how large-scale collaboration and advocacy may lead to the change that CSR is aiming to catalyse. He said, “Greater acceptability towards change, desire to experiment and optimism in trying new tools is where the private sector has an edge. CSR can act as a neutral sounding board to bring about necessary changes in the education sector, while promoting new research and new content development more vigorously. Collaboration with the government on a larger scale is highly desirable to be able to see visible changes in education paradigm.”
The panelists included academicians, education resource agencies, private start-ups on education, and CSR executives. Over 250 delegates attended this conclave.