Nepal | August 11, 2020

Advertising of schools: Is it good for consumers?

Shree Prasad Devkota, Ramesh Chaulagain and Shiba Bagale
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Our market is imperfect, cartelling based and without accountability. The guardians and students say that there is no environment and quality found as the schools say and show in the advertisements. They feel they are cheated economically and educationally too


Formal education in Nepal started with the establishment of Durbar High School in 1854 (1910 BS), and higher education with the establishment of Tri-Chandra College in 1919 (1975 BS).

The SLC in Nepal was started from 1934 (1990 BS). The private investment in the education started from 1980 (2036 BS). With globalization education is being developed as a service industry in the world, so too in Nepal.

When Nepal became the 147th member of WTO in 2004, she approved different deregulation commitments in the service sector.Out of them, the education sector is one.

According to the commitment of the service sector, four different modes include trade and commercial presence of technology based education, moving across the country for the educational motive such as international training, guest lectures etc, establishment of the institutional branches abroad and going to study abroad.

In general, the public educational institutions are not interested to advertise their services, education degrees and methodologies because the advertising activities in the public sector are basically handled by the government.

And the government publishes and broadcasts the advertising regarding mass information which basically is more informative than with business motive.

The government has the role and accountability to promote the educational atmosphere for all people equally with lowest possible cost. The government highlights the advertisement to affect and motivate the mass like ‘education for all’, ‘sons and daughters are equal to get education’, ‘nobody is to be excluded from the education’ and such.

These advertisements are for social consciousness. This is role of the government in the liberalized economy too.

The private sector is a profit earning sector. It invests its money as education is service business.

It is now inevitable that where there is profit motive, there are of course the activities of motivating and attracting the customers (students) towards them. They focus on four Ps (Product, Price, Profit and Promotion), by which their business has been influenced.

They want to provide appropriate product, i.e. level and quality of education according to demand, priced low. Nowadays bargaining is there, and profit is the major motive of their business, and they want to go for promotion, i.e. advertisement.

Basically the private sector education desires to provide information about their product by using different mass medias.

The visual and paper media communicate their business; besides, the audio and other mediums are also being used. The television advertisement is most common in which they can visualize their venue, performance, facilities and slogan as well as their commitments.

Print media like newspaper, prospectus, calendar printing, diary publication and advertising another magazine and so on are common practices. Likely, they can organize and sponsor the music, social health and other campaigns and programs. They go for ‘door to door counseling’, a common practice nowadays.

The use and selection of the appropriate medium for their products basically is influenced by their budget strengths, scope of their institutions, their knowledge of advertising and effectiveness of the advertising to the guardians and students.

They can use multi-media also to catch the person’s sentiments with some social services too.

Most of the private educational institutions claim that their advertisement is dedicated to quality education. But it is always debatable whether they do as they claim. In the free market, the quality of the goods and their prices are controversial, i.e. if the goods are of quality, it is more expensive and vice versa.

It is because the advertisement increases the cost of products and makes the products more expensive. Advertising increase prices because the money companies spend on advertisements is tacked onto the price of the goods.

Advertisements regarding education, in our context, give accurate and necessary information that are the right of the people, or they misguide the educational consumers.

If there is direct and rational correlation between the advertisement and education results, the situation would be different.

About 50 crore rupees is spent in advertisements in school education every year.   Competitive and fair price is the beauty of the globalization. The consumers are sovereign to select their needs.

They have multiple choices in the market, they feel, touch, experience and choose the products. The information regarding the products is trustful and realistic. The businessmen provide the service as they commit publicly.

But the reality is something different. The Nepalese business market is liberalized but could not be competitive. In the liberalization too, the degree of market regularity, the fair environment, punishment and law and order are intact.

Our market is imperfect, cartelling based and without accountability. The guardians and students say that there is no environment and quality found as the schools say and show in the advertisements.

They feel they are cheated economically and educationally too.

A version of this article appears in print on May 30, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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