Corporates have eaten their way into various aspects of our lives, but many of us are not aware of how they have been exploiting the trusting public through education institutions as well.
I had a brief stint teaching at one of the most popular private pre-school chains in India, one that is easily the first name that comes to mind when you think of preschools. This experience opened my eyes to how such companies play into the minds of gullible parents who are prepared to part with their hard-earned money so their children get the best start in life. Seeing things from the inside made me realize that profit is the only motive of such organizations; as they convert the temples of learning into money vending machines for themselves.
This education institution charges exhorbitant rates for the education of pre-school children. Both as a parent and as someone who has academically studied educational methodologies, I was immensely impressed by the curriculum advertised and felt the fee was reasonable considering the resources and talent necessary to deliver it effectively. However, first hand experience taught me that what is delivered is far from what they claim to do. With absolutely no checks performed on whether the teachers follow the curriculum, you really are being taken for a ride. Most teachers teach only what they are comfortable with and promote rote learning; hardly half the activities mentioned in the syllabus are even touched upon.
You couldn’t expect more considering that the staff employed to perform the task aren’t always the best candidates to handle such a challenging curriculum. Although the advertisements prominently mention about all graduate staff who are extensively trained, I learnt on the first day that less than half of the teachers actually were graduates, and the so-called “extensive training” they received were half-day sessions thrice a year. While these teachers were capable at teaching, very few of them could handle the curriculum as intended and language was a severe constraint for many. I am apalled that an educational organization should stoop to the extent of making such false claims to market themselves and was also surprised to learn that they never even checked staff credentials! The lion’s share of the fee collected goes into feeding the corporate, rather than paying the teachers who receive peanuts for the 30 hours or more that they spend at work every week.
The focus at this place was on making sure that plenty of pictures were taken to make parents believe their children were getting premium education. The knowledge they actually received was entirely dependent on the individual talent and interest of the teacher who taught them, and in no way a concern for the organization at any level.
A word of caution to parents who consider such corporate pre-school centers for their children—take what they say with a pinch of salt! Don’t fall for the tall claims they advertise, look beyond the designer walls, pretty uniforms and colorful backpacks. Before you pay an enormous fee, make sure that you are not tricked into believing it is the best because they claim to say so, look beneath the surface to confirm your child gets what you pay them to provide!
Teaching is a noble profession, let us not support these organizations that exploit the nobility of this profession and flourish at our expense. Both educators and the educated need to realize this.
About the Author: Sapna Jayaram
With the background of education in engineering and an under lying passion for writing Sapna is a full-time mother to two precious little men and wife to a wonderful man. Always on the lookout for new things to learn, she is a voracious reader, ambitious cook and an organizing freak. While she is not experimenting in kitchen, re-organizing the house or learning from the children, she is lost in the world of thoughts; thoughts that run faster than the wind as she try to tie them down with words before they elude her and are lost.