Education is one of the pillars of sustainable economic development. Given that education enhances an individual’s capability to earn and come out of poverty, it becomes a key driver of a nation’s economic growth. Leading national and international development organisations, such as M. V. Foundation and UNICEF, believe that out-of-school children in the age group of 6-14 years will be engaged in work activity, which makes them susceptible to premature dropout. The attraction of extra income in families struggling to make both ends meet, coupled with the discouraging environment in government schools often prompts parents to pull their children out of school. In India, almost 78,00,000 children work while attending school and 8,40,00,000 children do not attend school at all.
Given this backdrop, SNSF has made education a major thrust area, channelising almost 65% of its funds towards education initiatives. The belief in the power of educated people lies at the foundation of “Education for All”, which acts as the strategy for community development and poverty reduction. SNSF has thus mobilised thousands of out-of-school children into both formal and non-formal systems of education. Engaging with about 81 government and government aided schools, collaborating with corporates and working in lockstep with the government, SNSF is building a strong framework for encouraging children to enrol themselves in schools. Apart from encouraging private schools to start bridge programmes, corporates are urged to support higher education of bright students.
SNSF selects schools on the basis of an interplay of multiple factors, such as their proximity to ANAND factories, willingness of the school’s management to collaborate rather than focus on infrastructure development interventions and the relationship with other SNS programmes, such as microfinance through women self-groups. Based on four decades of experience, SNSF has developed a holistic strategy for addressing the issue of quality in public education.