John F. Kennedy had said, “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” Children of today will shape the world of tomorrow. This makes the job of raising them a very crucial one.
It is imperative to provide the right upbringing and education to the children to ensure that they grow up to be responsible citizens. And since this will have an impact on everyone’s future, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that this is accomplished in the best possible manner.
Corporates can participate in both of the fronts – Education and Upbringing of children – through their CSR initiatives.
With the rise of digitalization, relying on only textbooks to provide quality education is impractical. However, the fact of the matter is that several public as well as private schools, cannot afford to have a digital infrastructure or to have qualified teachers to enable the academic utility of the infrastructure once installed. Corporates need to step in to change that. It cannot be done by merely assigning some funds. The companies need to follow up, participate actively and monitor on a regular basis to ensure that digital education is imparted in an effective way.
Language and Communication Skills
The language barrier is seen as one of the biggest hurdles today for qualified youth seeking jobs in corporates. Not just the language barrier, but overall communication skills stay absent among the youth. This can certainly be taken care of by the corporates, by arranging for training and interactive sessions for the students.
Un-employability of youth on the account of the absence of various soft skills such as presentation skills, public speaking and so on has been a reason of the high unemployment rate in the country. Corporates with various interactive seminars from the school level itself can help in developing these skills at a tender age.
It is important for children to see the working of a corporate in order to be able to visualise it accurately and work towards the skills required to reach it. Corporates can invite student groups from schools for field or industrial visits to the offices. They can also assign age-appropriate real-time business situations to students, who can attempt to solve them for a certificate or some bonus marks. This can improve their understanding of the workings of a corporate.
While the mothers are granted maternity leave, the practice of granting paternity leave to fathers has not been very popular in India as yet. Even if several companies do provide paternity leave, it is never equal to maternity leave. This does not allow the child to spend equal time with both the parents at a tender age. This causes development of a perception that a mother is a caretaker and father is a breadwinner. In a world where we are trying to perpetuate equal treatment for all, it is important to imbibe the values of equality in children from a young age. And paternity leave plays an important role in this.
It is important to have a proper work-life balance for parents in order to give time to their children. The corporates thus, need to ensure that this is provided to all the employees, removing the insecurity among the employees with children of someone overtaking them for putting in less number of hours.
It will be a good idea for corporates to organise extracurricular activities for the children of employees. This way, the employees are more integrated into the culture of the company, their loyalty towards the company increases as they feel they are taken care of, and the children can get a good exposure.
Healthcare Plans for Children
The corporates can ensure complete healthcare coverage for children by providing advanced infrastructure in public hospitals. They can also introduce children specific insurance schemes which could reduce the burden of expenses on parents, who could then focus on the wellbeing of their children.