College-ads: Are they going overboard?

2014-04-05

Sangita Shrestha

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 While catering new information and entertainment to the public has been regarded as the responsibility of mass media, these means of communications are being used by different organisations to advertise themselves. Educational institutions, especially colleges these days seem to make maximum use of such media — be it print, electronic or new media to tell about themselves. 

But is the extent of expense for advertisement by colleges in Nepal relevant and suitable? 

Need of advertisement

Advertisements these days have become a necessity where the colleges are using it to inform about their features and specialities to students. It has become even more important in this competitive scenario where Sabina Giri, BA IInd year student at Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Memorial College regards such ads a “good thing”. She adds, “Students of various places can learn about courses offered by a particular institution and clear the confusions about where to go for the desired course.”

Milan Shakya, Vice Principal of Nepal Institute of Management and Science (NIMS) briefing about significance of ads, shares, “Advertisement informs about qualities available in a particular college. Without letting others know what is available in the college, no one would be interested to join it.”

Students these days know about any college mostly through adverstisements. “So, it would be difficult for both the institutions and students to reach their respective goals (of finding students and colleges) without adverstisements,” says Gopal Chhantyal, BBA VIth Semester student at Prime College. 

Explaining advertisement as “doorway for students”, Dinesh Shrestha, Senior Administrative Officer of Prime College further expresses, “Only the name of a college is not enough for it to get students. So, any institution spends on advertisements for its branding and promotion.”

Today’s advertising scenario

Though ads are really necessary, the educational institutions seem to use them as weapon to fight. And economically strong are spending more on advertisements. 

Sometimes the things promised by college-ads are not actually prevalent in that institution. Suresh Khatri, pursuing BBA VIIIth semester at Nepal College of Management (NCM) argues, “College often go overboard while elaborating the services and facilities available in the name of branding and promotion. But when students do not get what the ads had promised earlier, there will be negative effect on the students where s/he gets distracted from their studies and frustrated.”

Usually colleges tend to attract students with flowery words and they even boast about availability of A/C, carpet in the classroom which is unnecessary as per Giri. “Instead, an advertisement should be on how they are working for practical classes, library and quality education,” she adds.

Agreeing with her, Shakya further mentions, “Giving education is a social work where education must be within reach of all students. Colleges investing more in ads tend to have higher fee as the burden of such expense fall upon the students in form of high tuition fees.”

The advertisement competition as per him has created a negative effect where the parents and students may think that a college with less fee lacks quality education “which is definitely a wrong thing” as per Shakya. 

Talking about problems created due to advertisement Shakya further points out, “Students are attracted to nicely advertised colleges and neglect the colleges near their home and parents have to bear the consequences.” 

The exact need

The time has come for evaluation of actual need of advertisements — one has to identify whether an ad is genuine or is full of false promises. 

According to Shrestha, a college keeps on advertising until it gets sufficient number of students. “But the right for the advertisement must be with the college administration as a college tends to advertise as per its need,” he adds. He however suggests, it is the duty of students and parents to enquire about the colleges before getting admission. They must look for the examination performance history of any college and talk to actual students who have studied there.

However, Shakya argues, “It would be better to advertise through students studying in that college by giving them quality education which will work and it would not require much investing like that in electronic media.”

(Source: The Himalayantimes national daily)