India has made progress in enrolling children in school but it has failed to deliver quality education. Thus, the next big challenge is bringing quality in education. Learning assessments show that children are not learning basics of literacy and numeracy. Almost 34% of students do not complete primary school (2010)[i] and about 80% never make it to college[ii] and those who remain in school receive low-quality instruction. A global study Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranked India nearly at the bottom in mathematics and reading skills underscoring the magnitude of the problem of quality of education[iii]. As a result, India faces significant shortages in skilled labour and individuals with minimum levels of cognitive skills and the public education system has struggled to meet this demand. India is banking on half its population being below the age of 25 for sustainable growth. We will be unable to reap the benefits of this demographic dividend unless we make investments to provide quality education and emphasize on learning outcomes that prepare young people with skills to be productively employed.
Kaarmic Education Services Private Limited (KESPL) and its Objective
KESPL is a social enterprise, which works with private educational institutes serving low -income communities to provide quality, affordable education and skill development programs in Hyderabad and Mumbai in order to bridge the employability gap and develop a more informed and skilled workforce for tomorrow’s India. The mission of KESPL is to build a more educated, empowered and employed India. It’s objectives are to create more industry aware graduates, help students with initial internship and industry experience to help them launch their careers, identify individual talent and promote them in the right direction, provide companies the opportunity to brand themselves in colleges and develop a connect between the corporate sector and the college ecosystem.
Through its products like “The Bridge Program” and the “School Development Program” it hopes to build a pool of educated, skilled and employable talent emerging from the low-income communities. It starts its intervention early, right from Grade 6 in schools and also works with students pursuing their Masters degree. Its work is dedicated to helping students understand their competencies, passions, industry realities and also helps them find the right employment. Its programs are conducted in educational institutes, ranging from slum schools to Tier 2 – Tier 3 colleges. In schools it provides affordable career guidance, effective teacher training to under qualified teachers and student development programs such as spoken English and computer literacy. In colleges it provides self-assessment tools to students, career specific student-industry interaction through events and online platform, specialized skills training as required by the industry, experience building opportunities and job placements. Experts from over 13 countries have helped design the curriculum for all its programs to match international standards.
The Bridge Program
Bridge is a unique workshop designed to fill the gap that exists between the young minds and businesses in India, with a vision to enhance the quality of employability. KESPL believes that this in turn would contribute towards the competitive advantage of our workforce in the global market and lead to the economic welfare of the nation as a whole. It is a career centric workshop designed in collaboration with industry specialists and HR professionals whose aim is to expose the youth to business realities with activities, discussions, and consultations.
KESPL partners with companies and industry professionals in a unique way through the India Employability Development Network (IEDN). This is an initiative by KESPL to create a network of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals who want to play an active role in contributing towards the knowledge building, mentoring and development of the future talent pool of India. Today, there are over 25 IEDN members who are part of the network.
This network of industry professionals have comprehensive knowledge about their respective industry, hiring needs, skill gaps and understanding about the Industry’s future potential and realities. IEDN members partner with KESPL to engage with its flagship product, The Bridge Program. The charter IEDN membership is by invitation only, and subject to the due process prescribed by the KESPL-IEDN regulations and bylaws. The membership is free for both organizations and individuals, as the objective is to engage as many supporters as possible in this nation building activity of solving the issue of urban unemployment.
Benefits to the Social Enterprise
Sustainability and Quality
IEDN members participate in at least 2 Bridge Sessions conducted in KESPL partner educational institutions every year. This ensures that parts of the resource requirements for the program are fulfilled and that the program is able to maintain the quality in terms of workshops in different schools. IEDN members provide support in mentoring, knowledge building and development of the unemployed youth of India in their desired capacity.
Fulfilling its mandate
Any program implemented by KEPSL can only be successful if the cycle is closed and the beneficiaries are able to actually obtain employment and that mandate is fulfilled by its partnership with IEDN.IEDN members also provide any opportunities if available for internship, permanent posting and other experience building programs to support worthy and talented students.
Partnering with an association of highly valued and respected corporates also enables KEPSL to build its brand and gain greater visibility for the work the organization is involved in.
Benefits to the Corporate Partners
Access to Talent Pool
The corporate partners have easy access to the Future Talent Networks (FTN) present in KESPL’s various partner Universities/Colleges. Even more importantly, they have access to a pool of trained referred potential hires. Freedom to promote products, services, organizations and opportunities in the FTNs of KESPL’s various partner Universities/Colleges.
Access to High Quality Networks
As members of IEDN, corporates have access to the IEDN network of high net-worth individuals from various industries and all of KESPL’s networking events. This also in turn enables these corporates to potential build other partnerships and therefore explore new territories and build in scale.
Ability to ensure social impact
All of the corporate organizations within the IEDN network are able to directly work with young people from low income communities and impact their lives through creating career awareness. This therefore enables them to play their part in eradicating urban unemployment and building India’s future talent pool.
The partnership between Kaarmic Education Services and IEDN is an extremely unique one since it is an example of collaboration between a social enterprise and a network of individuals and corporates. This partnership is also exemplary of a mutually beneficial alliance since both parties are gaining from each others’ network. Apart from fulfilling CSR mandates through engaging with young people from low income communities and there by playing a part in reducing urban unemployment, the network is also able to tap into the pool for recruitment purposes, thereby increasing their stake and creating incentives for them as well.
[i] Tilak, B.G.J. (2010). Tangible targets at school. The Hindu. 11th February 2010. [online] Available at : < http://www.hindu.com/2010/02/11/stories/2010021150390800.htm>
[ii] Times of India (2012). Gross Enrolment at nearly 19% shows survey. Times of India. 29th September 2012. New Delhi. [online] Available at :< http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-09-29/news/34163129_1_ger-sc-students-total-student-enrollment>
[iii] Chhapia, H. (2012) Indian students rank 2nd last in global test – The Times of India. [online] Available at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/Indian-students-rank-2nd-last-in-global-test/articleshow/11492508.cms