CSR and NEP 2020: Karnataka government seeks CSR funds for implementation of NEP 2020
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CSR and NEP 2020: Karnataka government seeks CSR funds for implementation of NEP 2020

implementation of NEP 2020

implementation of NEP 2020

The much-awaited National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is all set to hit the road running. The Karnataka government has already issued orders for the implementation of NEP 2020 in the state. Among the various measures currently undertaken to oversee the smooth adoption of the new policy, seeking CSR funds and support from the industry has become a major talking point.

Implementation of NEP 2020

Shown the green light by the Union Cabinet on July 29, 2020, NEP 2020 is the spiritual successor of the previous National Policy on Education, 1986. The policy provides a comprehensive framework on which India’s new education system would be based, with the ultimate aim of transforming the whole system by 2040. Under the new policy, elementary, secondary as well as vocational education in rural and urban India would be overhauled.

Karnataka is all set to be the first state to implement the new education policy, with the Minister for Higher Education, CN Ashwathnarayan, announcing that the government’s focus will be on systematic implementation. He was speaking at a seminar organized by Kristu Jayanti College and he expounded further, saying, “The government will focus on systematic implementation of NEP and seeks CSR funds from industry and donations from organizations towards this. The NEP strengthens the education system by eliminating the previously-existing rigidities, granting autonomy to institutions and becoming more flexible.”

What is interesting here is that the government is seeking CSR funds to accomplish this undertaking. CSR has come a long way in India since it was made mandatory in 2014. It has undergone several alterations and amendments with the latest being made during the pandemic. The Centre deemed that expenditure incurred by companies towards building COVID-related facilities and procuring medical equipment would be counted as CSR. Conducting vaccination drives where the public was the beneficiary is also being considered as CSR now. Therefore, it is not difficult to see why funding education would not count as CSR. That is if the government is willing to see it that way.

There are numerous CSR initiatives that support education programmes for the underprivileged and economically weak sections as well as girls. With the Karnataka government seeking CSR support for implementing the new policy, this could be a chance for corporates to strengthen their education programmes. All parties involved could come to an agreement whereby companies would contribute CSR funds towards the implementation of NEP 2020 and the government recognizes these contributions towards meeting CSR obligations. Additionally, companies can start implementing NEP 2020 in their CSR education programmes.

It often far easier to draw up plans and issue orders than actually implementing new policies. The road ahead is fraught with multiple challenges and it will be interesting to see how the stakeholders take on the obstacles in their way.

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