American companies give roughly half a billion dollars each year to improve education in developing countries, but their efforts often lack coordination and a sustained commitment, according to a new study.The study, by the Brookings Institution, in Washington, recommends that companies work more closely with the United Nations, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and education ministries in countries outside the United States. It also urges them to spend more money to help countries’ education systems recover after natural disasters and develop better ways to measure what they are trying to accomplish with their giving.The study was based on a survey of more than 500 businesses, interviews with corporate executives, and other analyses.
It found that U.S. corporate giving is the seventh largest source of money for education in developing countries, after the World Bank International Development Association and the governments of France, Germany, the United States, the Netherlands, and Japan. However, big businesses’ giving to education in poorer countries is much smaller than the estimated $7-billion they spend on global health.
Among the study's other findings:
Energy and technology companies give the most to education in developing nations.
Companies tend to give relatively small grants over short periods of time.
Countries with fast-improving economies, like China and India, get the most attention, while some of the poorest countries, like those in sub-Saharan Africa, get no support at all.
Science, technology, engineering and math get more support than other types of education programs, followed by entrepreneurship and youth enterprise education, job-readiness programs, and efforts focused on women and girls.