Foundations for Education - Investing in education runs into billions


Annually an estimated R2-billion is pumped into education and corporate social responsibility projects aimed at making a difference in society.

The investment in education from corporations throughout South Africa and parts of the world is starting to make a difference in the lives of learners and educators.

The lives of millions have been transformed as they benefit from the philantrophy in South Africa.
Programmes targeted at teachers and pupils with the intention of improving skills and raising standards have begun to yield rewards as the lives of those people touched by the financial muscle of corporate South Africa start to take off.

Some of the big donors in the country include Absa, Anglo American, AngloGold, De Beers, Eskom, FirstRand, Shoma Education Foundation, Billiton, Sasol, Telkom, Transnet and Woolworths. Collectively, in 1999/2000 the groups listed above gave a third of the R645-million donated to education in South Africa. This made up 35% of the total corporate social investment budget of R1,84-billion.

The giving in South Africa has shown little sign of abating, with donations being reported regularly in the media. American chat show host Oprah Winfrey made headlines when she gave the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund R80-million.

Nelson Mandela handed the amount to Minister of Education Kader Asmal, who is expected to announce shortly how he will use the sum.

This special supplement in the Teacher looks at the role played by big business in education. We highlight recent major donations and also report on projects that were started with funds from social responsibility projects. This newspaper applauds the work of corporate South Africa. It indicates, business people do have caring hearts and in some cases bulging wallets, when it comes to education.

We carry several stories relating to investment in education and the people of South Africa, and pledge to continue to provide a platform where all major funders and their contributions will be recognised.

Also rewarding is reflecting and reporting on the stories of ordinary teachers and pupils who benefit directly as a result of corporate South Africa’s investment in education. Most of the projects are not just about dishing out money, but rather empowering people to show how they can use the allocated funds to become self-sufficient and sustain their projects.

Once again, the Teacher salutes all organisations throughout South Africa, that are making a real difference by supporting education projects. And to the beneficiaries of education projects: learn as much as you can and share the knowledge with fellow South Africans.

- The Teacher/M&G Media, Johannesburg, August 2001.