by Taryn Springhall

SMEs increase support for education

But investment still too low

Invest in education.
SME's Increase their Support of Education

Trialogue’s CSI Handbook, published in November last year, reported that a CSI spend of R6.9 billion in 2011/12 was only 1.1% of the government’s more than R615 billion annual budget for social services.

But both large corporations and SMEs have stepped up to investing in education and skills training in South Africa

This augurs well with political analyst at the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa, Ebrahim Fakir’s statement that, “companies could assist in turning around the country’s economic fortunes through the expansion of services, more concentration on research and development, the introduction of new products and a focus on job creation”.   

A survey conducted by the National Business Initiative in 2012 found that over 61% of large companies who participate in the programme spent between R2 million and R35 million each during 2010/11 to support public education. 

About 70% of firms who were surveyed allocated funds to learner support programmes, 65% supported teachers’ professional development and 63% allocated funds to the provision of equipment. 

Added to that, more than 60% assisted schools by either providing or developing learning and reading material. 

Small to medium size enterprises have taken a page out of the same book and the same survey revealed that more than half of the firms surveyed spent R50 000 on CSI initiatives in 2010/11.

Almost 30% spent between R50 000 and R100 000 supporting education, but the SME contribution amounts to more than money.

Seventeen percent of the companies introduced senior learners into the workplace, 14% supported school nutrition programmes and publicising career opportunities and a further 11% made staff available for mentorships. 

While most of the CSI investment is made from the mining sector, the finance sector is making a tangible difference in education through their CSI programmes. 

This goes to show that strides have been made in order to eradicate some of the mistakes of the past, by being proactive in the present and laying vital foundations for South Africa’s future.

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