Since the SLC results were declared two weeks back, the media is awash with ads of private +2 colleges. An Rs 650 million has been spent on the ads of colleges this year, with 30 per cent of the total amount being spent within two weeks of the SLC results.
It is quite amazing that sports celebrities and reputed men of letters, who have never been engaged in the educational sector, are importantly placed in the college management setup. This speaks for one of the marketing strategies in the competitive world. But, the teaching-learning approaches, methodologies and other academic inputs are quite neglected. Interestingly, the academicians appointed from outside seem to have no other function other than to be the guests at annual college programmes and cultural shows, according to Prof Bidhya Nath Koirala, who is advisor to about half a dozen colleges.
A large amount of money is spent by many colleges on advertising and marketing, and five-star-hotel-like college buildings. It has gone to the extent of a college advertising its swimming pool. Celebrities also have modeled in some of the ads.
The business interests are uppermost. The investment is made to make profits like in any business venture. In the drive, pampering the students receives more focus, which in turn rebounds in the teachers not being respected. The guardians and students remain the milking cows while the teachers are the workers to be exploited.
Barring a few colleges, all others run sans genuine academic atmosphere. Compared to the cash spent on ads, the budget spent on pure academic activities is negligible.
The college ads do perplex some of the parents and guardians. It is no wonder that many of the new students are aspirants for further studies abroad, after completing +2.
Only when the students encounter tests like GMAT, SAT,etc. will they realise the lack of academic environment in the colleges where they had studies. They then find that the reality is far from the ads.
It is fine for the colleges to go for glitzy ads, but they could also invest in the creation of the academic environment so that the students who graduate +2 level will not face any harassment later on with their further studies.
(Source: The Himalayantimes: Published on July 6)