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 the M. V. Foundation and UNICEF, believe that out-of-school children in the age group of 6-14 years often get engaged in manual labour, which makes them susceptible to dropping out prematurely. The attraction of extra incomes for families struggling to make both ends meet, coupled with a less-than-encouraging environment in government schools often prompts parents to pull their children out of schools. In India, ~78,00,000 children work while attending school and 8,40,00,000 children do not attend school at all.
In such a backdrop, SNSF has chosen to lay a keen emphasis on education, channelising ~65% of its funds towards this area. An unflagging belief in the power of education lies at the heart of ‘Education for All’, a strategy for community development and poverty reduction. Consequently, SNSF has mobilised thousands of out-of-school children into both formal and non-formal systems of education. Engaging with ~81 government and government-aided schools, collaborating with corporates and working in lockstep with the Central 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 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 providing microfinance to women’s self-groups. Based on four decades of experience, SNSF has developed a holistic strategy for elevating the quality of public education.