Education Support Program in India

In its value-creating CSR activities that revolve around local communities, the Ricoh Group provides its products, services and human resources for the purpose of contributing to the resolution of social problems in developing countries.
In 2011, Ricoh launched the Education Support Program in India, aiming to solve education problems facing rural areas of the country.

Ricoh's Education Support Program in India

Ricoh's digital duplicators serve as the driving force for the virtuous cycle to improve educational standards that achieve high-quality education for children in rural villages and provide a better future for fulfilling their dreams

Rural villages facing a wide range of issues on education

Target region of the program	(Medak District)In May 2011, Ricoh launched the Education Support Program in the Medak District in Andhra Pradesh State, situated in the southern part of India, and has been working together with Save the Children (NGO) to help improve local education conditions.
At the end of January 2011, prior to launch, Ricoh employees visited the area where they conducted a field survey and interviewed school faculty, educational bureau staff, parents and children, through which various issues were identified.
For example, children of farmers tend to be absent from school for a long period in the busy farming season in order to help with farming chores, and often end up dropping out before finishing their primary education. The survey also found that the situation with girls is even more severe in terms of continuing to learn at school. Fundamentally, some parents are not aware of the importance of education, and platforms that are essential for proper school operations are generally fragile, causing problems that include a lack of sufficient educational infrastructure and declining quality of educational services due to a shortage in human resources. The study also pointed out that most schools did not have any printing machines or duplicators, which means that teachers did not have any means to print tests and teaching materials and that communities could not share information effectively.
To address these issues, Ricoh implemented a program under which digital duplicators are donated to local schools and educational institutions where training is provided to children, teachers, and officials of local governments on how to use them for the purpose of improving the quality of classes and helping community residents to share information effectively. At the same time, with the aim of improving the educational environment in the target area, we are conducting educational activities, for instance, hosting seminars for the school management committee and organizing "children's groups." Through these activities, we are supporting the establishment of networks among those who are engaged in education.

Cycle to Improve the Educational
Environment Executed under Ricoh's Program
to Support Education

Cycle to Improve the Educational Environment Executed under Ricoh's Program to Support Education

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Duplicators are contributing to the improvement of classes and revitalization of the community

Ricoh donated duplicators to ten schools and other educational institutions beginning in July 2011 and also provided training on their usage. In February 2012, we examined the effectiveness of our support program. Through our review, we discovered that increasingly more class time had been allocated to exercises, drills and tests because teachers were able to use more of their time for teaching rather than wasting it writing out questions and explanations on the blackboard and even waiting for students to copy them on their notebooks.

Duplicators are contributing to the improvement of classes and revitalization of the communityAlso, we received positive comments from program participants, saying that since they are now able to share a larger amount of information, such as letters to parents, guidelines for teachers, and a register of teachers, more quickly with far more numbers of people than before, they have become confident about information distribution.
In addition, regarding development of the educational environment, we discovered that 60 schools in the target area organized "children's groups." Under this system, children aggressively participate in discussions concerning the improvement of their schools, local issues facing the community and other items of interest. Going forward, we will place more focus on the establishment of a framework for school improvement and a network among adults in the community including the school management committee, while supporting information sharing by making effective use of the duplicators.
By March 2014, the target month for achieving the program's goal, we aim to fully realize real improvement in the quality of classes and independent and sustainable efforts by local residents in the community to enhance the educational environment, which enables as many children as possible to keep going to school.

Phases and the goal of the program

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Obtaining valuable marketing information specific to each area

As the program progresses, we are obtaining more and more valuable information which will be key for us to conduct business operations locally. For example, we have learned about the challenges that are faced specifically in rural areas located far from urban cities, including for example, the high possibility of damage to duplicators installed at the facilities due to attacks by rats, and poor supply channels for paper refills. Another achievement is the relationship we have built with personnel from educational bodies and governmental organizations. By using these connections as our footing, we can conduct product promotion and public relations activities.
Taking into account the recent passing of the Right to Education Act (RTE Act) by the Indian parliament in 2009, it is expected that education-related markets in India will expand into rural villages, thus realizing government efforts to promote compulsory education and improve educational standards in the country. At the same time, the Ricoh Group is intending to build a local community-oriented business model for providing products and services that will contribute to the resolution of social issues faced by communities by leveraging expertise gained through our synergy and these project activities.

Interview

Collecting valuable information to be utilized to develop new customer demand and cultivate local markets

Initiatives led by Ricoh India

Ricoh India Limited Executive Manager, After Market Planning, Sanjeev MehtaSanjeev Mehta
Executive Manager,
After Market Planning,
Ricoh India Limited

In the local area, duplicator penetration is very low; only government offices and major private schools have them. But since teachers have evidently been able to use time more effectively and prepare more tests and teaching materials using Ricoh's duplicators donated under the program, we were able to demonstrate the benefits of the duplicators to the government.
Regarding sales activities in a region such as the district concerned, through the program, we discovered that it was important to coordinate with local bodies and the state government to create needs for our products, and to offer products which address region-specific issues including power cuts, low cost and easy availability of supplies such as ink and toner.
We also know through surveys that recent customers tend to choose products from a company that engages in CSR activities. Encouraged by these reports, we will communicate Ricoh's initiatives and achievements to our customers.

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