Education is a human right. As part of our Ethical Charter, we’re committed to investing in companies that contribute to human happiness, dignity and education. Here are two examples of companies we support in the education sector: G8 Education and 3P Learning.
Study after study has found early childcare education provides enormous benefits for children and their parents.
Under our Ethical Charter we assess G8 Education as a positive company because it provides childcare and education services. The company was formed in 2006 after a group of Australian childcare brands joined forces to create what is now Australia’s largest ASX-listed childcare centre operator. The company employs more than 10,000 staff in over 470 early education centres across Australia as well as a handful in Singapore. G8’s brands include Bambinos Childcare, Casa Bambini, Community Kids, Kindy Patch, Pelican Childcare and Penguin Childcare.
A brighter future for families
Access to childcare gives parents with young children the option to remain in the workforce. For kids, a high-standard, happy childcare centre can help them form positive relationships and learn about the world. Early childhood is a critical time for learning and development because 90% of brain development takes place in the first five years of life. Good early childhood education can have a positive impact on a child’s intellectual and social development and improve their ability to learn and interact with others later in life. So we think it makes good sense to invest in high-quality childcare.
We also like the fact that G8’s centres and support office are committed to sustainable practices including recycling, biodiversity, energy and water conservation, sustainable equipment purchases and gardening.
Positives and negatives
Just as perfect individuals are rare, so are perfect companies. We take into account both the positive and negative impacts of companies to determine whether they are investable. While childcare services are great for parents and their children, we must also consider that childcare workers, who are predominantly female, are among the lowest paid people in Australia. Early childcare workers can earn as little as $22 an hour which is around half the average hourly wage. Overall we consider that G8’s impact is positive, but we will continue to monitor how the company looks after its staff.
There’s nothing like fun games and competition to get kids motivated about maths and literacy. The desire to make learning fun sparked the formation of 3P Learning, an Australian company that produces or distributes ‘gamified’ educational tools to teach maths, literacy and science.
The company aims to create the same level of excitement about learning that children experience when they participate in sport. From humble beginnings in 2004 situated above a Sydney supermarket, 3P Learning is now a global company listed on the ASX. Its tools are used by more than five million students in 17,000 schools and homes around the world. The company’s most famous program is Mathletics, which lets kids from all parts of the world join in a race to answer maths questions.
3P Learning’s materials are also teacher-friendly, with online reporting to help teachers track students, highlight their strengths and point out areas for development. The tools can also reduce teachers’ preparation time, freeing them up to work more closely with students.
Removing obstacles to learning
Since 2011, 3P Learning has also worked to help the most disadvantaged children receive an education. In joint projects with UNICEF they have raised funds for around 300,000 children who are held back by poverty, poor sanitation and lack of access to clean water.
A range of learning tools
3P Learning offers a range of online tools. They include:
- Mathletics: A program that uses online play and rewards to engage primary and secondary students to develop essential maths skills. Studies by the Australian Catholic University and the University of Oxford have shown Mathletics users perform better than other students against a range of metrics.
- Reading Eggs: A research-based resource that is tailored for individual students’ levels. Reading Eggs inspires confidence and motivates students with songs, games and rewards.
- STEMscopes Science: An online, enquiry-based curriculum that helps develop students’ curiosity about how the world works and builds real-world connections to science.
This article originally appeared in Good Money issue 13. You can read the entire magazine here.