Commercialization of education may be defined as a process of private ownership and management of educational institutions whereby investments are made with the purpose of netting returns. Commercialization is the process of involving an action in business. It is the process that is involved in making a product commercially effective. The process consists of production, distribution, sales, marketing and other supports required to commercialize the product or activity. Commercialization is applicable to several sectors and these include the field of education, agriculture, sports, charities etc. Commercialization of education is a new development that has resulted in reforms in the education sector. The commercialization of education can be understood through the increase of private schools and institutions. This privatization has introduced the financial element to the qualifications necessary for education, especially with respect to higher education. Commercialization of education involves structural adjustments, shifts in accountability and redeveloping the conception of the education system. This has an effect on many fronts and therefore changes the whole concept of education, especially the student teacher relationship, the objective of education and the approaches towards education. Commercialization of education has a larger influence on all the investors involved, such as the students, teachers, administrators and parents because of the move from the vertical connection to a horizontal connection where the position of the teachers and that of the student changes to that of entrepreneurs and clients.
Commercialization of education can take place at two different levels: administrative and instructional. The administrative level would involve running the institute like an enterprise, focusing on budgetary cost-effect, pursuing resources, product assessment and equivalent modification, new employment policies, and new bond between teachers and students. Instructional level commercialization would accomplish the whole process of teaching and learning as cost-effective. The main concentration would on learning/teaching as a necessary phase for making a product, re-adjusting the objectives of learning and teaching.
In the modern context, much of education has been handed to private players who charge inflated fees to educate young students. This seriously undermines the altruistic nature of education, much more so in few developing countries where students consider their teachers as equivalent to Gods. Commercialization of education not only gives it a damaged look, but also supports hostile policies. A pupil coming from a rich background apparently has a much better chance to excel in life than one from a poor upbringing. Also, since profit is the main intention, these education companies only accommodate to the richer demographic, vastly avoiding the under-privileged people. Additional problems with this system consist of hedging, where fraudulent politicians or businessmen can open an educational institution to evade the risks of their other undertakings. While theoretically, such educational institutions endorse good ethical values among their students, the truth about the originator only sets a bad example for the students that are studying in that particular institute. Hence, extreme commercialization of educational institutions would lead to a generation of people with very grey morals. However, commercialization of education has some positive and progressive impacts as well. First of all, it allows for more money to flow into the education sector. Government funding of public schools and colleges is awfully short internationally and the standard of education isn’t very great to start with. Commercialization makes certain that students reach their full potential in their chosen field.
The commercialization of education has few frightful effects which are so understated and refines that they often goes unnoticed. Today students interpret education and the time they spend at school/colleges as a means to an economic end, a safe approach of confirming profitable employment. This is does not suggest that there should not be an economic advantage to their earning a degree. However, while the consequences of commodity based give-and-take in the free economy are easy to quantify, the effects of education are not easily computable. The social and cultural movements that nurture a mind-set where education equals a degree assists to further hide the benefits of education that are not effortlessly quantifiable and cannot be openly redeemed.
Another worrying feature of commercialization is that the attention of the youth and the kind of education that cultivates his/her full potential is side tracked. There is a need for government involvement for amending discrepancies and conflicts. If commercialization perseveres and stays to develop unrestrained, anything and everything will be abused and influenced for earnings in higher education. Various aspects of commercialized education system affect the students’ psychological state as well as general behavior.
If the education system is too commercialized nowadays, then one of the biggest downsides may be that degrees go up for sale, and that is indeed happening in our society. It is possible to acquire degrees very easily by joining private coaching classes, doing as little work as possible, having other people finish the homework and projects, and clearing exams by the slim margins. The only disadvantage to having degrees for sale is that the student still has to give at least minimum time to his/her learning. However the time expended is negligible when equated to how much time people have to spend when earning their degrees. Unless a student is foolish enough to rip-off and copy text verbatim, then the teachers have no clue if the student wrote his/her school college work. In addition, educational institutions in the current competitive state are encouraged to lower their criterion and make it easier to clear examinations because they need to appear respectable against their oppositions.
Hence, in principle, it can be agreed that while commercialization has its disadvantages, it does at intervals blow life into the flawed and delicate education sector. In an ideal world, there would be a steady balance between public and private schools/colleges, with public institutes not being too substandard and private institutes not being too expensive and exclusive. A few steps towards this goal would be increasing government funding of schools, implementing policies that guarantee unbiased competition among parties that follow the vocation of education and ensuring that the education sector doesn’t get too commercialized. At the same time, it should also be safeguarded that the sector isn’t controlled by the government itself. It is essential to see that a systematic revolution is tried instead of simply making superficial changes. Only then can our education system be returned to the preferred track.