Commodification of education

These colleges pioneer a hectic door-to-door campaign on schools and houses to woo students even before the declaration of results by exam boards. These colleges start their pre-intermediate classes during the practical exams of secondary classes, denting the importance of practicals in science.

These colleges leave no stone unturned to ‘manhunt’ preferably the high performers in the ninth standard board exams. The marketing teams comprising mostly teachers of the colleges get on the nerves of these students’ parents, using all acquaintances and relations to reach out to parents. Once the students are corralled into their colleges, parents are treated with utter disregard. A nexus develops between schools and colleges to stop leakage of students.

Students are straitjacketed to use their volition to choose a college. Sometimes, the alma mater asserts its “motherly rights” and forces its students to join only the prescribed college. Paradoxically, the public colleges remain smug in this rat race of leashing the students. That’s why what they get in the end is the leftover of the private colleges.

The elite private colleges do not earmark any worth to government schools as feeding units as the former believe that the students from public schools can’t afford the expenses of these colleges, and secondly the public schools yield a thin minority of high performing students who would prove an asset for these colleges.

The students of a lesser god are offered no discount in fees. One principal of an elite college when queried by this scribe about any financial assistance to deserving students exclaims a brusque remark that private colleges are meant for the upper crust of society, and that government colleges are there for those who can’t afford the “elite education”.

The private colleges swagger about their produce of students capable of becoming doctors, engineers and other white-collar-job holders who have been brilliant students at schools. So basically, these colleges only polish and varnish the already well-groomed student talent.

The laurels of these colleges should lie in turning around the low performers into the finished product of high achievers at higher secondary levels. Such educational ‘rags to riches’ precedents are few and far between. The Marxist reality is that the elite cater to the elite.

Functional science labs and libraries are the metrics of institutional professionalism of an educational institution. Science labs, if any, are only the showpiece ‘out of children’s reach’. When this scribe enquired a principal of an elite college about the students’ access to newspapers, he jeered, “Newspapers particularly English ones are meant for the patients of competitive exams only.”

Arts are the most ignored discipline of knowledge in these colleges as the programmes offered by them are mostly medical, engineering or information technology. Science as a rule deals with things, art with man’s thought and emotion about things.

Artists are not included in the marketable products of these colleges. Selfcontradiction becomes all the more visible when these colleges hold musical concerts and invite artists as part of their co-curricular activities. Why do cocurricular activities at these colleges not include story-telling and book reading sessions by renowned authors? Commercialism doesn’t allow that, simply.

To label these institutions as commercial enterprises will not be wrong. Entropic  priorities are placed in neat order there. These institutions must not commodify education if they want to contribute genuinely to the development of human talent across the board.


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