Corporate Social Responsibility for Better Education

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CORPORATE Social Responsibility (CSR) has been an issue since Indonesian Government put a regulation conducting CSR activities. The law regulates that companies that deal with natural resources obligate to do CSR activities. The program has may manifestation, basically it is a company’s policy and activities related to the stakeholders as well as owners, values, abiding by the law, rewarding society or community, contribution to sustainable development, and the environment as well.

CSR programs actually delivers many benefit to the company, such as better financial and sales performance–due to its products are trusted more, or simply put a good corporate image in people mind. The activities believed to be sort of insurance that guarding company’s future. Every programmed CSR activity will enhances the relation between company and its consumer or its relevant community. As if people like of its activities, they will “protect” the company business for long time. Better quality in their relation will endure the company business in the future.

The problem is what types of CSR activities that resulting the biggest impact on corporate. Offcourse, the answer lies on the company purpose and the interest of the stakeholders. Most of the practise involve in community development, land preservation, education scholarship, infrastructure development in company areas, community health development, creating job field in areas and others activities to name a few.

The most popular practice in CSR is providing scholarship for student and lecturer. Most of them admitted that they already had brought better education for Indonesia. The question is what guarantees that higher education scholarship would show better education level in a country. It leads to another question, why companies did not touch the primary education level, although it is more important than higher education.

Nowadays, people have aware the importance of early childhood and primary education. Many education experts remind that parents and government should not ignore the primary education. It is a foundation for higher education and character building age, thus better quality of primary education would bring better student of higher education level, and it would bring better human resource at the end.

One of the good examples of CSR practices in primary education came from PT Indo Tambangraya Megah Tbk (ITM). They considered CSR as one of its core obligation and it is carried out through various community development programs, not only for those in the vicinity of ITM’s mine site, but for general people as well, who are also the company stakeholders.

Conducting the responsibilities program, ITM focused its efforts on education development and it is part of the movement to enlighten the life of the nation and improve the education level in the country. Melina M Karamoy, ITM Corporate Communication Manager, explained that ITM had chosen the education because people did not stop to learn, they need an education thorough ages and ITM wanted to take a part to enlightened the nation.

Although they have granted scholarship regularly to some outstanding students with mining engineering background, ITM took different approach conducting their education program. The program called “ITM Untuk Pendidikan” or ITM for Education that supporting the “Spreading Knowledge, Achieving Dreams” theme.

ITM for Education is aiming certain groups within community and specifically for primary education. It consists three programs that serve three different educational groups or community.

The first programs, “Mining for Children”, this program is aiming the elementary school students and introduce them to the mining world. It is initiated from company published storybook “ Journey to a Coal Mine”. Actually, the book launched and distributed to ITM employee children at Family Day in August 2008, while other copies distributed to 400 children from unfortunate family in 2008. “We published this book (Journey to a Coal Mine) in order to explain about our job and introduce coal mining to our children. Sometimes our employee found it is hard to explain about their job and coal mining to their children. Thus, we published this book in hope that our children will know about their parent’s job and about coal mining.” said Melina.

The company knew the book feedback in no time. “ The feed back of the book was so impressive, children love it much, and now they could tell about their parents job and coal mining”, told Meliana. She added that since ITM was listed at the Indonesia Stock Exchange in December 2007, ITM had to conduct the CSR program within the company and its relevant stakeholder. ITM decided to share “Journey to a Coal Mining” to 50 formal elementary schools and 25 non-formal schools in Jabodetabek areas as part of their CSR programs. “We (ITM) visits elementary school students and introduce them about environmental friendly coal mining, and also demonstrate some science experiment to them. We hoped that one of the student would be a mining related engineer one day.” Melina explained about Mining for Children Program.

Education is not only about learning; teaching is another part of education too. ITM realized that an education could not deliver well without proper teaching skill. Through “Smart Teaching Program”, ITM asked elementary school teachers in Jakarta and its satellite cities, to improve their teaching skill.

“Smart Teaching Program” took a workshop form to improve teacher skill, such as language ability, psychology of children, writing, how to act in front of class, etc. An expert in each field presented every subject of workshop. Mahyudin Lubis, The director of PT Indo Tambangraya Megah, hoped that this workshop could advance the quality of national education.

The other part of “ITM For Education” is “[email protected] Programme”. The last program stressed on early childhood education, as we have known that early childhood ages is kids golden ages to absorbs basic knowledge, such as form recognition, simple numbers, alphabets, animals, plants, social relation, etc. Conducting the program that held on June 24, 2009 in Ancol Beach, ITM worked together with the Association of Early Childhood Teacher (Himpunan Pendidik Anak Usia Dini). At the workshop that was attended by 150 early childhood teachers from various municipalities in Jakarta–including Seribu Archipelago District, teachers and trainers were presented with many teaching materials about principles of early education, early education play program, and local government policy over early childhood education.

“All programs are free, we do not charge participants. Out of our obligation in CSR, we are just trying to help primary education institution could deliver Indonesian children to reach their dream. We believe that every Indonesian children deserve to have better education for their future”, said Melina M Karamoy.

Dealing an education in CSR activities not only provide a great sum of money for student or lecturer scholarships, which stand on the last stage in formal education. Many education experts emphasized the early childhood and primary education were the foundation of their education, moreover their future. Thus, we should not ignore the importance of early childhood and primary education. Improving the quality of teacher and build up children dreams are part of it. (Andreas Setiadi Sanusi)

Jakarta Globe, November 02, 2009

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