CSR Education: CSR Asia and AIT Launch New Master's Degree

CSR Asia in conjunction with the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) have joined hands to launch a new Master's degree program. The course will start from September 2011 and will be offered in modular format targeted at busy working professionals wanting to know more about CSR.

The course is designed to build the capacity needed to ensure that businesses are better prepared to manage global sustainability challenges. According to CSR Asia's press release, "The program is a timely initiative that will help meet the capacity gap within firms and other organizations to deliver on CSR programs that meet business needs for long-term competitiveness whilst contributing to sustainable development in the Asia Pacific region."

The MCSR degree comprises eight intensive four-day taught modules, an action research based project and a special study project. The program is accessible to professionals from across Asia-Pacific and will be based on an interactive format.

All modules can also be taken as individual training courses in their own right. They cover the following topics:

  • Environmental Management and Climate Change
  • Value Chain Risk Management
  • Community Investment and Development
  • Development, Poverty Alleviation and Social Business
  • Corporate Governance, Fair Operating Practices and Government Relations
  • Business and Human Rights
  • Human Resource Management, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Business Strategy and Social Responsibility
The course also includes a special study project, which provides an opportunity for participants to pursue a line of investigation that they are personally interested in. The final part of the qualification requires participants to undertake a final project based on action learning principles.
For CSR Asia and AIT, the launch of this course seems to be a timely addition to CSR awareness in the Asia-Pacific region. Many companies are taking notice of the growing trends in CSR and there is a severe lack of senior and middle management that are aware of sustainability issues.
Sustainability in the Asia-Pacific region needs an intensive focus to shift it away from the traditional notions of CSR which is more charity-based. CSR Asia wants to take the lead in incorporating CSR into the Asian business psyche. They want to focus on creating the necessary training and specialized expertise.  They feel that CSR in Asia faces many pitfalls like, "slow on-the-job learning curves, knowledge gaps on available tools, frameworks, and management systems and programs and projects that remain trapped in a limiting approach to CSR focusing on charity and philanthropy."
Boosting CSR education is one of the best ways to increase the profile of sustainability in businesses. It is heartening to note that the biggest names in sustainability and education are joining together to boost its profile.