By: Kevin Kalra, Senior Project Coordinator, Global Business Coalition for Education
“We [the business community] are increasingly becoming more than an end user of education, and we must play an active role in shaping the debate and influencing what our employees of tomorrow are learning.”
Hani Ashkar, Managing Partner – Middle East, PricewaterhouseCoopers
A new campaign, Business Backs Education, challenging business to commit 20% of its global CSR spend on education by 2020 was launched at the Global Education Skills Forum (GESF) in Dubai.
The GESF campaign is designed to bring business in line with Government and NGO education spending targets. UNESCO’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report recommends that Governments should spend 20% of their budget on education and that 20% of Official Development Assistance should go towards education initiatives.
The Business Backs Education campaign will:
– Challenge the private sector to double its CSR spend on education initiatives (from estimated $548 to $1 billion) by March 2015, prioritizing countries and groups most in need.
– Challenge the private sector to allocate 20% of total global CSR spend on education initiatives by 2020, prioritizing countries and groups most in need.
– Encourage companies to work with the public sector on core areas of education needs such as access to quality education, 21st century skills, global citizenship, and professional development of education professionals.
– Encourage companies to embed ‘The Framework for Business Engagement’, developed by UNESCO, the UN Global Compact, UNICEF and the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Global Education.
– Offer companies who sign up to the campaign complimentary enrollment in the #smartinvestment Network, a community of companies brought together by the Global Business Coalition for Education.
– Establish a more robust baseline on global corporate giving to education and a sharper analysis of where spending is going in terms of countries and education areas that benefit.
The first year initiatives of the campaign include:
– Five summits to take place in London, New York, Hong Kong, Johannesburg and Dubai. Collectively, the Summits will contribute towards a report that outlines a map for how businesses can increase their CSR spend on education.
– Publishing a list of the top 30 listed companies ranked by their investment in education on each of the major financial exchanges.
– Publishing a guide for businesses to have more effective and meaningful engagement with the K-12 education sector.
As Vikas Pota, CEO of the Varkey Gems Foundation and convener of the Global Education Skills Forum, said:
“Business can and should play a much greater role in developing the public sector’s ability to improve education access and learning quality in both the developing and developed world. Not only because Education is a public good but because if business is unable to secure future talent then it will harm economic growth worldwide.”