Corruption in Education
A bold title but it is not a question it is a statement.
A recent blog with the following title suggests we may have a problem:
It’s high time to fight corruption in education
by Mihaylo Milovanovitch Policy Analyst, Non-Member Economies, Directorate for Education
We would be forgiven to think only of developing countries suffering such a problem with education but hang on it mentions 1:1 private tutoring, surely this can not be corruption in education! This is a report from OECD, of PISA fame to which many politicians point when they want to ‘drive up standards’ so it has some validity. It has even more validity when you consider the moral aspect of needing additional tuition in order to secure a place at a school ‘of your choice’ or for your child to get a grade you believe the school incapable of supporting.
It all revolves around money, making a profit or, as some would argue perhaps, they are merely meeting the needs of consumers. Well we know all about consumers. The food industry, as it has become to be known, met with a limited market until it developed the snack. Through clever marketing it invented consumer need and now we have an obesity epidemic in the developed world. Fashion has not ignored the idea of creating trends and therefore customer needs either and is a multi billion pound industry. If I mention medical care would you begin to think there is a trend going on? It is great to help people live longer but look at the investment required on the part of the individual because the focus is on treatment and not prevention. If the medical industry (there is that word again) truly focused on prevention we would not have the sick old people we would just have old people surely. Where is the profit in that I hear you ask – I am saying nothing!
Having covered food, health and fashion where else can business look to generate profits? Watch out a ‘Free School’ (you have to like the choice of words) or ‘Charter School’ is coming to your neighbourhood. In doing so it will create customer demand for ‘better education’ (we really mean grades or scores, just like on a balance sheet) and a whole industry to ensure you get the choice you have been offered. So be prepared for 2 for 1 offers, discount coupons, insurance schemes, quick fixes, a better tomorrow, a promise of a better life, cram schools, more homework, a longer school day/week/month/year and whatever else can be introduced to get the most out of this new and emerging industry.
How could this be corruption? Should education not be a right? Should a society not seek to provide it for free? The profit may not be immediately obvious in a business context but look at those countries pushing for the education of its citizens, they do this because they see the wealth it ultimately creates and the benefits they all receive as a result.
I leave you with a thought.
Is what is happening to education around the world like killing the goose that lays the golden egg? Has greed and profit got hold of the idea and decided to create factory geese farms where they can industrialise the whole process and make as many golden eggs as they like without care or consideration for the goose or the quality of the eggs? Just so long as there is a profit to be made.