Commercialism and education didn’t seem to fit in well till recently. But world today has become so commercial that everything has an option for ‘business’ in it. So even a serene place as a classroom is also viewed as an excellent venue for promoting business activities. The infiltration of schools by marketers began in the 90s since ‘marketing to children’ was found to be meritorious. So from their point of view, every child is a ‘consumer’ capable of reporting effectively about a product.
Why commercial activity in the classroom?
We must realize that the business professionals have not reached the classrooms by mistake. They are thriving to occupy firm positions in schools because of copious advantages.
- First of all, a school environment is a fertile place for encouraging business ventures. Students are uncategorized consumers who can be successfully molded in a desired way. Students are not viewers with discretion. Anything that attracts them wins their attention and admiration. Moreover in schools they are not accompanied by their parents.
- Secondly, as the so-called ‘consumers’ are young; the business bags have more than enough time to drag them into a particular brand and instill loyalty to it. They can be trained to grasp a message without thinking deeper into it, which is beneficial for the company.
- Lastly, the commercial companies are securing their future with promising consumers who can contribute a lot to them.
Kinds of commercial activities in schools
Several kinds of commercial activities are taking place in a school environment in disguised forms. They are-
- Direct advertising- This is in the form of ads in school walls or playgrounds. The ads can be of varying sizes and shapes crafted in a way that catches the attention of children easily. A child can now greatly influence the shopping decisions of his family. So he is a future consumer who is now a strong commercial influencer.
- Indirect Advertising- This is usually seen in unfunded schools. The marketers approach the school as sponsors of educational materials for teaching children with. In schools where there is a shortage of money, these resources as seen as a boon and they usually don’t bother to review these educational materials for their quality and motive.
- Commercial research- Many companies conduct research in schools in the form of tests and contests for attaining demographic information which in a way aids their economic growth. The preferences of tomorrow’s consumers are really valuable for them.
The after effects of the proliferation
The marketers are in a way curbing the critical thinking ability of children. They are deliberately categorizing innocent kids according to their commercial sorting aptitude. Consumerism hacks the tranquility of education and students are taught to be good consumers than good citizens. Children are forced to view ads and commercials that have fabricated messages which ultimately lead to unhealthy habits and practices.
Their privacy is trespassed without their consent and they are merely seen as ‘objects’ for commercial enhancement. Commercialism in schools is not only an abuse but also a breach of public trust.