Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding is often cited as one of the biggest contributors to any country’s economic growth. Enactment of Corporate Law, 2013 made it mandatory for corporates to contribute 2% of profits to CSR for country’s development. A large chunk of this investment goes to the education sector and a further very small percentage of that to career guidance. Currently, the education sector is one of the highest invested sectors in CSR funding but as researched by Craft Driven Market Research, only 1.3% of the total CSR spend actually goes to career counselling.
Craft Driven researched 250 BSE listed companies by scanning their annual reports for the respective company’s initiatives in career counselling through CSR. Major findings are:
83% companies do not invest in providing career counselling or guidance at any level
Only 2% of actual spend in education sector by all the studied companies actually contributes to career counselling
Approximately 58 crores yearly is spent on career counselling by 250 companies
Major components of education spending are infrastructure development, education loan, scholarships, laboratories and libraries, vocational training, hostel building, career counselling, special education, stationary distribution, educational tours and mid-day meal scheme
Educational success has been attributed to career guidance since it helps in taking students to the right path of their life. It plays a vital role in students’ life by helping them clear their vision, direct them towards their goals and support them in understanding on how to achieve those goals. Various corporates have incorporated career guidance with support from different organisations and NGOs as part of their CSR strategy. Some of the good initiatives undertaken in this segment have been by companies such as Asian Paints, Reliance Industries Ltd., BHEL, Bharat Petroleum, NIIT Technologies and Marico.
Asian Paints is taking the initiative every year through an NGO Deepalaya. In 2015-16, 2000 students were impacted by Asian Paints efforts. Reliance Industries Ltd. organised career counselling sessions in Jhajjar, Haryana and Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh. Over 340 students participated in and benefitted through the sessions. The sessions involved one-to-one counselling as well as a screening of motivational films and presentations. Bharat Petroleum has provided career counselling to ITI students and spent Rs. 1,80,735. It also provided for secondary level students and spent Rs. 1,17,000. Similarly, Marico conducted a career counselling programme, “Sakshar Beti Sudradh Samaj”, for girls at the Dehradun & Paonta Sahib factory locations and in the nearby villages.
The government is also driving efforts to promote career counselling at national level through its programme National Career Counselling on July 20, 2015. It is aspired to provide right information and scope to all the job seekers in the government sector. Although the step is still new, there is expected availability of content on over 3000 occupations across 53 sectors and industries. This is expected to bring all the students on board who are seeking career guidance, unemployed candidates and those looking for vocational guidance.
Many NGOs and organisations have also put into their efforts to promote career counselling. One of the organisations working in the field, CareerGuide.com is engaged with several companies to help them use their CSR funding in career counselling. Surabhi Dewra, CEO, says that career counselling is a new and novel concept in India where students are not aware of the available options in career and still opt for careers based on peer pressure and incomplete information. In addition, there are several other challenges such as parental pressure and lack of career information in school curriculum which makes it important to provide sufficient information to students as well as parents.
Several NGOs are working to widen the reach of career counselling through CSR funding. Deepalaya, an NGO, has several initiatives in the education sector and out of the total received funding from CSR, 2.5% goes to career counselling. “Career counselling results are not measurable by corporates and this hinders their investment in the field. Instead, corporates are interested in putting their CSR initiatives which are visible and have immediate impact”, says Ms. Jaswant Kaur, director, Deepalaya.
Another NGO, Vidya Helpline is helping students to know about the opportunities they can seize in terms of their career and by providing career counselling. With an annual budget of 1 crore and 40 career counsellors, Vidya Helpline is focused on reducing information gap and giving exposure to students through 1:1 counselling, psychometric assistance, and career guidance. According to Chandra Sekhar, CEO, for 75% of students, counselling is sufficient since parents have no knowledge, another 20% needs more support since their parents have partial knowledge and they try to push their kids according to their knowledge while only 5% students have well aware parents. He believes that career should be a natural flow of interest which then brings money.
Currently, counselling seeking students comprise of two sections, school level and higher education level. In 2015, There were 10,40,368 students who appeared for X exams while 13,73,853 appeared for XII exams. In higher education segment, 26,594 students were enrolled in 2015. So, considering the scope of reach of career counselling it is a total of 29 million students at least although it has yet reached only 5% of students. In a recent survey, 80% of graduates rate finding a job as their main motive behind attending college and only 4% seek career guidance to make aware decisions. This is one of the reasons why even after having highest percentage of graduating students every year, India is not able to produce as many quality professionals.
Aakanksha Aggarwal, founder, Craft Driven Market Research says, “Currently there are more than 560 career options but students on an average have knowledge of only 25 fields. It is important that students choose an appropriate career according to their potential and social conditions. This can heavily reduce drop-out rates which is approximately 40.5% (2012-13) at elementary level. CSR funding can be a source of great support to improve the education scenario of the country.”
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