It’s business as usual

There has been manifold and manifest commercialisation of education in the recent past. The trend has been fostered because of the vested interest of the stakeholders - administrators, parents/guardians and the private sector. This is not an unhealthy development, but it poses problems not so evident before.

As such, there is a mushrooming of profit-driven schools, colleges and institutes offering different and diverse subjects to the students. Because

of this tendency, the admission

and tuition fees are relatively high. The bottom line is education can

only be acquired if there is enough funding to go around.

A hike in the teachers’ salary is a common enough phenomenon to make lectures and tutorials possible. There may be no guarantee that the learners will benefit from what is a two-way communication, and on a one-to-one basis. Any aptitude shown by the average student to put into practice what they have learned is taken into account.

Thus, the products of an institution need to try out skills that have

been learned the hard way. Where

before there was only a handful of school leavers and so-called graduates, the market now is, literally, flooded with job seekers liable to flaunt their CVs and resumes. This has

made it possible to be selective and approve only those who show

merit, and are self-starters.

Exploitation of any skill possessed by students has been gaining ground thanks largely to widespread use of advertisements, and the interviews for placements. Some even go to extreme lengths to extol the positive aspects of an institution - a question of selling oneself short. Even if it is a run-down building with a poorly stocked library, and facilities not worth the name.

The increasing number of students testify to the opportunities available, although no effort is made to revise the curricula and make it up-to-date in line with international standing. In its absence, the prospect of joining the skilled work force becomes dim, and cuts down the possibility of being hired by employers.

Education by itself is no panacea for social, economic ills, and those dependent on it for a source of income. Falling standards can only be shored up if the foundation is firm and stable, and a policy to make good is in place.