Saturday 25th Oct 2014
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A Money-Making Industry

Education

By SYED KAZIM

Education, these days, has become a costly affair. Educational institutes are making profits in thousands and lakhs. This sounds shocking, doesn’t it? Educational institutes have become so professional that for every service rendered they demand blatant fees. This process starts right from the time of admission, then there are various other fees like internet fees, sports fees, newspaper subscription fees, exam fees, graduation day fees; and the list goes on. 

True, education is the training of both head and heart. As Sir Winston Churchill said, “The first duty of a university is to teach wisdom, not trade; character, not technicalities.” But we are nowhere near the mark. How good an educational institute is can be determined by giving quality education, imparting values, training human minds for real life and guaranteeing them a successful future. But today the world has become commercialised to such an extent that, like commodities, the basic necessities like education and health care are also being sold in the market.

Education plays a vital role in shaping the human character and social order. In fact, the real function of education is to impart the genuine knowledge about life, existence and future. A real student is one who seeks the realities of life and the universe. But the tragedy is that the contemporary educational system aims only at creating a generation that fulfils the market and individual needs.

Corruption is also very much there in the field of education. For instance, a B.Sc. Nursing student was offered to write his final exam in a separate room by referring books, of course for a certain amount of money. Colleges get ready before the various aggradations like NACC, ISO, etc. by painting the buildings, hiring Ph.D. holders, upgrading the infrastructure facilities for a temporary basis and last but not the least, preparing huge gifts and heavy lunch for the members of the committee appointed to visit the college. Many educational institutes are aggraded as A and A+ but they do not deserve that sort of grading from any angle. Sometimes the grading and the actual condition of the college are in two different ends. In reality most of the educational institutes do not deserve the grading they are given.

Few colleges also run PUC (+2), Graduation Courses, Post Graduation Courses in one building itself (which is against the norms of the university) but they land up with not less than A level aggradations by NACC or other approving/ranking authorities. This shows the power and high influence of corruption in the educational institutes.   

Colleges adopt different means of collecting money from the students, say for instance Rs. 1500 to Rs. 3000 for graduation. Rich students will be able to pay it but what about the poor people?

Few colleges also give hall ticket to the students to write the exam even if their attendance is not as per the university norms. Some colleges also tamper the attendance to meet the norms of the university and in-turn collect huge fines from the students, who have shortage of attendance and the students also do not get any receipt for it. Nobody knows where that money collected from the students goes.   

The phenomenon of privatisation not only believes in gathering fees from the students but also recruits teachers to work for low salary; it opens centres for exploitation. It not only opens doors for exploitation but also gives very poor quality of education to the students and by charging huge fees. In a few colleges teachers are treated as use-and-throw instruments; they are fired once the syllabus is complete. Once a student told me (who is from Bhutan, studying B.Com in a college in Bangalore), “Our teachers are teaching us Management. We are learning management but the college authorities are themselves not able to manage the students and their activities. What a joke!” I felt like crying and also felt like laughing. I totally had mixed emotions.

Some engineering and MBA colleges also hire brokers to get students enrolled to their colleges. And getting students enrolled has in itself become an industry. Few brokers have become so expert that they have landed up starting colleges. A broker in Nepal gets $1500 every semester per student from a college in which he enrols students, so for four semesters the student ends up paying $6000 to the broker indirectly. A broker in Nepal has earned more than 86 crores by just sending students to different parts of the world for higher studies. Some of such countries are Germany, Switzerland, India, Australia, Canada, etc. The difference in fees structure is also very huge. A college in Bangalore charges Rs. 40,000 each year for BBM whereas another college in Bangalore charges Rs. 90,000. This shows how discrimination is done by colleges in terms of fees. A certain percentage of the college fee goes to the great brokers. Actually, many foreign students fall into this trap as they only follow the guidelines of the broker as they have no knowledge about the new place.

All the decisions taken are just based on the objective of earning money. Activities which do not involve huge money are organised and the activities which incur huge expenditure are avoided. Colleges also change the timing to save money rather than looking into the comfort of the students and the staff. Great personalities are invited for various programmes like fresher’s day, graduation day, college day, building inauguration, etc, in order to create hype and use the names of these personalities with a mere objective to do publicity of the college. Colleges also have a great hire and fire policy. They are being asked to give a notice period varying from 1 month to 3 months (depending upon the college) but when the college wants to remove the faculty, they just do it in just three minutes. Isn’t this an unjust contract?

Education system of a nation is of prime importance which moulds the students to become useful and contributing members of human society. The present education system is based on materialism and atheism. This educational system does not pay attention to human values and ethics. Today’s educational policies have emerged as a result of the Capitalist ideology and they are exploiting education for their petty material interest.

The flaw in the education system also has reparations on other professions too. Take the example of the health care sector. Why do most people choose a career in the health care industry today? Once upon a time it was a profession where people wanted to become doctors and nurses because they wanted to serve the society but today all of that has changed, after paying lakhs of money their objective at the initial stage is to recover the money which they have put in, in getting the seat and later on paying huge fees. Once that money is recovered, they now want to earn money as they feel that is the time to make a lot of money and to en-cash the investment which they made on their education years before.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” said Nelson Mandela. It is very obvious that no weapon is superior to education. Thus education should be used as a constructive tool to make this world a better place to live in rather than an activity to mint money.  

Summing up, the commercialisation of education is increasing in our country, where taking has become more important than giving. The education sector has just become a mere tool to mint money at the cost of the future of students. Colleges prefer bad students to good teachers because students give huge money and good teachers demand huge salary. We need to have an aim to promote the concept of value-based education and provide education which promotes moral values and manners in order to make them good human beings, rather than preparing them to become slaves of the multinationals. In our country, besides economic, political and social fields, educational sector too demands struggle for social justice. For construction of a better society, efforts to fix these problems must be part of our struggle.



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