Improving education is one of the top priorities of all governments across the world today.
Every government is backing the idea of large scale efforts that yield useful lessons for relatively quick whole-system reform.
There is a dire need to adopt new ideas and strategies which assist the system to move forward in performance and most importantly to raise the bar and close gaps for all students. It is a fact that student achievement levels have changed very little in the past two decades and this facts haunt time and again whenever one speaks of education reform today.
Vital Role Top Corporates Are Playing
Who better than the companies today know that in order to build a sustainable future, one requires an educated workforce. And, what is glaring about it all is that, in the debate of what’s wrong in the education system today, it is the corporates giants who have time and again pointed out major anomalies existing in the system. This therefore underpins a question in mind, can businesses help solve the education crisis?
Well, the answer to this is a resounding ‘Yes’ and you already find some major businesses have not just limited themselves in pointing out the faults of the education system but plunged into it to bring in reform. Companies such like IBM are applying big data to predict how individual students’ best learn as such are closely related to shaping their talent and skills. Similarly, Discovery Educations another behemoth corporate entity is making extensive use of media to better engage students in schools. Simultaneously in order to achieve holistic reform in every stratum, Corporates have also taken up major initiatives to get into workforce development along with initiatives to reform school and higher education.
CVS and Godrej are such giant business entities who have engaged themselves more deeply in education and workforce preparation. By doing so, these two companies have not only strengthened their own competitiveness in the steep contest but have also taken up a step ahead to invest in the long-term human potential of their employees.
In addition, executives from many leading companies have shared valuable lessons that are relevant to companies that want to be more involved in education improvement and those that are new to the initiative. Doing so, corporations also have a shared value- one to improve education and the other, to drive shareholders returns. The clear objective of Corporation is to engage professionals in making a sustainable, systemic contribution to improving education. Organizations have always been open to value creation for their entity and embrace frank dialogue on critical business issues.
Companies Who Have Set an Example with Strategic Intent to Reform Education
While, it is important to consider where corporations can focus their resources within the education system, it is also important to consider how corporations have been effective at achieving change within education. Leading companies have found ways to be strategic in their education reform efforts. Two major strategies for achieving greater impact include: leveraging corporate assets and expertise and establishing focused goals and measuring results.
Microsoft’s Education Transformation Framework- the Company has taken a lead to create a new and immersive approach[i] to explore curriculum and immersive way to explore curriculum, nurturing a growth mindset in students, while emphasizing future ready skills to help the thrive in jobs yet to come up.
Microsoft’s dynamics 365 CRM for Universities and higher education supports leading higher education institutes and research organizations. A credible framework which offers actionable insights to manage the complete student journey increase student satisfaction and drive more efficient support services. At present, leading colleges and Universities are using Microsoft’s higher education solution. [ii]
Google’s Innovative Education Solution for Teachers & Students– Both Schools and Universities are exploring a range of products and ideas to drive impact for students and educators. Google for Education helps ignite innovation and learning for the Pre-K or PhD, Google for education to support teachers, learners, researchers and organizations.
The programs as well as resources are aimed to build skills for the future, meeting future’s biggest challenges; students need an adaptive set of skills. It also helps in creating programs which ensure digital readiness in both students and teachers and directing Google tools and funding towards expanding computer science education.[iii]
GE’s District-level School Reform– GE’s school district support services in Jefferson County KY tap the management and technical expertise of GE’s employees to complement the grant funding provided to the school district.
IBM with its Reinventing Education Program– IBM’s Reinventing Education program engages with several school districts well beyond just check writing- IBM gives teachers better technology tools to manage student performance data and trains teachers on how to use the data to improve instruction.
State Farm’s Education Advocacy– State Farm’s education program is unusual because CEO Ed Rust exerts his leadership influence to advocate for education policy reform- an impact that far exceeds any research grant State Farm could give to an advocacy non-profit.
Bell South’s e-Learning initiative– BellSouth has developed specific goals around its e-Learning program that relate to its funding, advocacy work and volunteerism. It tracks quarterly performance on a dashboard that summarises progress to date and recommends future actions.
Intel’s Teach for the Future Program– Intel has established clear goals for its Teach for the Future professional development program and tracks intermediate indicators to measure performance toward achieving its goals.
Wipro’s Software Excellence Program– Wipro Academy of Software Excellence (WASE) program. The Wipro Academy of Software Excellence (WASE) program helps the science graduates to study Master’s degree in Software Engineering (M.Tech) run in partnership with the Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani, India and this unique program blends rigorous academic exposure with practical professional learning at the workplace. Mission 10X again another not-for profit initiative of Wpro limited started on September 5, 2007 towards enhancing the employability skills of enginnering students by building capacity of engineering education infrastructure. This program is focused on training teachers on pedagogy while the second phase has focused on smaller and deeper engagement philosophy where a set of selected engineering colleges have been given a deeper educational interventions.
Reliance Education– for Reliance and education skill development are the cornerstone of a progressive society and it has continuously provided quality education. Reliance seeks to provide quality education, training and skill enhancement to improve the quality of living and livelihood. The company focuses on promoting primary as well as secondary education, enabling higher education through scholarship, promoting higher education through setting up supporting Universities and skill development through vocational training.
Samsung India – Samsung India is at the forefront of empowering India’s Youth with education through technology. Samsung’s Smart Class present in Navodaya Vidyalaya across rural India. Each Samsung Smart Class consists of the latest audio- visual tools, like Samsung Tablets, interactive smart board, printer and other devices. Such classes have learning apps for Computer, Science, Mathematics, English and Science.
Through thoughtful assessments of their programs, they have been refining and overhauling focus areas and approaches as they leverage their corporate assets and manage programs towards focused goals and measuring results. What’s praiseworthy about these corporate programs and what other corporates can emulate is the energy, ideas and execution of these corporate programs that represent an example for all companies to follow.