Yesterday, The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, spoke out to corporate executives and educational professionals in support of urging businesses to play a larger role in education. Johnson voiced his support for a new campaign, lead by Dubai Cares and UNESCO, that aims to encourage businesses to invest more money into education systems, both in the UK and globally. Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO, believes that this campaign will "put the spotlight on education," particularly, she added, in conflict areas where "education is under attack."
A new report indicates that only 9% of the total UK business corporate social responsibility (CSR) budget goes towards education. And only 20% of that goes to areas most in need. This campaign would demand businesses to give 20% of their CSR budget to education by 2020, increasing expenditure from $307m to $650m. By having over a 50% increase, experts estimate that this would allow a further 750,000 children per year to attend primary school.
Johnson believes that, "as a society, we are failing to prepare kids for the reality of the job market. The educational system is making progress, but I urge all businesses to go further." Even though unemployment rates are decreasing, Johnson noted that 11% of young people in London are still currently in no form of education or employment, which he deemed a "disgrace." He continued to argue that society is letting young people down, failing to prepare them properly for the reality of work, but further to that, failing to inspire them to have aspirations and goals of their own.