How consumerization of education could counter commercialization of education

31 Aug 2012 | Uncategorized

It is lamenting indeed that increasingly often educational institutes are set up with business objectives acting at the fore. Historically, critics have rightly condemned widespread commercialization of education. Efforts by reform-oriented educationists to highlight the ill effects of the bane and to contain the mushrooming of such institutes have, however, mostly been in vain.
More recently, something positive has begun offsetting the bane of commercialization, and somewhat ironically, the driving force for the change is consumerization of education, driven in turn by a consumerization of the technology.
High-scale commercialization of education brought in very large players in the segment who have helped develop the sector like an industry. The lucrativeness of the education business also brought in more competition and hence the need among players to differentiate on the offerings.
For a long time, the key differentiators remained factors such as the quality of faculty, the curriculum, the building, the location and even the technology in the form of lab facilities, configuration of PCs, et al.
Of late, however, technology has been evolving from being a differentiator to becoming a leveler.
That the education sector has fast emerged as a major vertical for IT and telecom vendors is a widely acknowledged phenomenon. The newer generation of e-learning forms and platforms are able to potentially bypass the intermediary commercial establishments and provide students direct access to education content. This kicks in a new learning paradigm wherein classroom-styled tuitions become a supplementary or at best a doubt-clearing mechanism. As the technology and the connectivity further matures, students would be freed more and more of being forced of time-and-place rigidities, and would instead be practicing from the convenience of their homes or nearby cafes.
The coaching institutes could themselves transform into education service providers, and in fact some of them are already doing so partly. As the model gains a greater proportion of the overall pedagogy, the cost of providing education would also significantly come down, given that real estate constitutes a very large portion of the costs.
Consumerization of education thus taking place stands to effectively counter the stranglehold that commercialization of education has allegedly built.
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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Good observation. can u name a few players in india ……

    Reply
  2. Deepak

    There are many, including the better known ones like Edurite, Educomp, Meritnation, LearnNext, Extramarks, among others.

    Reply

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