Education: The Best-selling Commodity

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Ayaz Khan
It is a quite legitimate argument that when the state institutions fail in delivering services to the masses properly a third force pops up and jumps to the driving seat. Take the wide philanthropic infrastructure in Pakistan an example which has become the voice of the poor and disowned after government has failed to provide basic necessities to the masses. To put this in a context, it is also quite clear that ‘a stagnant ideology is overpowered by the emerging one’. Similarly, when the ‘education’, the fundamental right of every citizen, fails to reach the masses, the state-run educational institutions give space to the private institutions to hold the bridle.
 It is not only a matter of modifying the both government and private institutions with adjectives of ‘good’ or ‘bad’, in fact, the class system in education lies at the core of the problem which simply means educational polarization. However, the educational polarization keeps widening with the marketing policies of private educational institutions while charging exorbitant fees which is out of the reach for poor parents. To keep their business expending and thriving, the educational capitalists have become keen to initiate their schooling miracles in less developed areas given the ground ripe for business.
This time the ‘lucky’ land is one of the least urbanized cities of Balochistan – Hub. Recently, Hub city has attracted two reputed private educational institutes to expand their services to the people mostly known as ‘backward’. I happened to be part of one of the opening ceremonies of the schools. My quest for searching at least a little touch of education, which they claimed to have come over to provide to the people of the Hub city, kept easing with each song and ‘clown’s’ hilarious tricks. Here is my conversation with the staff of the school where I have attempted to dig out some facts, blurred with successful event management skills, to mould the view towards the real face of educational capitalists.
“We’ll give a special discount of 60 per cent off for the parents for getting their children enrolled today—after opening ceremony,’’ said the lady comparer of the programme with a booming voice, “the magnanimous ‘educationalists’,” I murmured.
“While launching an educational institution, the comparer must have started the programme with the aims and objectives of the institution and highlighted its educational achievements that what sort of benefits has it done to the masses so far?” I thought.
Aims and objectives, actually, lit like a bulb over my head which paved my way to reach the information desk to get some of my questions answered. The lady at information desk, having seen me, seemed on tenterhooks with her face turning blushed to pound me for admission as if she was trusted with duty to lure gullible parents.
“Yes, sir, how may I serve you,” the lady extended her services to me, “G, I am keen to get my child enrolled in your school, but I want to know about your aims and objectives first,” I replied. She put a fee list in front of me and started to tell me about their special fee concession programme as, to call myself lucky enough, according to the lady, I was there at the right time and place to brighten the future of my child.
“Mam! I want to know about your aims and objectives,” I repeated my question, “oh! Aims and objectives…… let me call my colleague to answer you, a moment please,” she excused.
When my questions received some shots in the dark in answer, I turned to some core questions about their performance indicators which might be a source to guide the parents to choose the best available options for educating their children. The answer, first time during the entire conversation was quite ‘accurate’ and ‘attractive’. “See, sir, the School ‘A’ is responsible for its school,” she cleared the mess, “And we for ours,” she answered me quite confidently.
Finally, one of the ladies grew infuriated and said, “We have eleven campuses across Karachi,” she praised, “And it is a brand that is enough for our name,” she highlighted institution’s aims and objectives!
The conversation is quite clear to delve into the facts. For the people to have a clear face of educational capitalists, the ‘brand’ with eleven campuses, is a quite clear vociferation that initiating campuses after campuses is, in fact, result of business expansion rather than education; because in business ‘brand’ itself is the best-selling commodity!
Writer is a member of staff. Follow him on twitter @ayazkhanzada18
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