It’s back to school and traffic is the least of parents’ worries. Even where there are no school fees there’s still all manner of paraphernalia to cost, including the ongoing outlay of requests from the school for support, fundraising events, etc.
And whilst the government claims intellectual capacity can overthrow recessionary adversity, it ironically hampers the source of that intellect – our education system – through ongoing cutbacks. The result is that school principals focus on frugal efficiency, and parents are increasingly asked to supplement depleting resources.
But couldn’t the private sector help? And indeed doesn’t the private sector have a duty to look after its future customers and employees, enact its corporate citizenship, and plug this financial gap?
I am not suggesting a ‘free for all’ invite to companies to take marketing advantage of the situation. Because in the absence of formal guidelines, what’s to stop a company offering schools much needed resources in return for blatant PR, branding, and the ubiquitous proofs of purchase.
But just as an organisation’s corporate compassion should influence its values and activities, so too its ethical position should drive how such activities are implemented. By this I mean due consideration should be given to all parties concerned, identifying and protecting each group’s vulnerability. Activities should be based on mutual respect and trust. And most importantly, the motivation and metrics of the activities should be objectively reviewed and clearly defined… and put in writing.
There may be no formal guidelines to commercial activities in schools. But there are plenty of ideas out there (from which my own freely available guidelines are drawn – http://www.sheenahorgan.com/).
So companies cannot be excused for acting as if its open marketing season in schools. But nor too should they be closed to the many mutual benefits of considering a school programme.