Stem the surging tide of commercialisation

Stem the surging tide of commercialisation

Advertisements and banners are now seen at every nook and corner. All is well when it comes to commercial establishments like hotels and restaurants, malls, showrooms, etc, but when educational institutes and hospitals are so advertised, it simply shows the rate race of commercialisation where every institute is trying to establish more and more branches in different areas, irrespective of the quality being offered. With the mushrooming of such institutes, it becomes necessary for them to advertise their new ventures – in public spaces, in print, on social media, with whatever means available.
Privatisation is inevitable in the modern world. The public cannot wholly and solely depend on the government. Privatisation comes to the rescue in many situations and in many areas of life. It provides varied opportunities and employments. But complete dependence on privatisation is a mode of rapid commercialisation. Everything, if brought under the purview of privatisation, will lead to profiteering off the basic necessities of millions of people, like food, education, and health care.
Food is essential for survival. Education is the right of every child. Health care is the guardian and saviour of lives. Rapid commercialisation has given a financial dimension to all these, at every level. The money put in advertising and infrastructural investment is realised from the consumers. Thus, if people seek better education, health facilities, etc, they have to spend bigger bucks. When students/ patients are reduced to mere consumers, then what is the fate of millions of poor who cannot afford the expenses?
Commercialisation of education and healthcare has a dreadful effect which is so subtle that it is often unnoticed. Recently, when a Deputy Commissioner visited the district hospital, he found most of the staff absent. Many of them were found to be busy with their private practice. It shows that private services are thriving at the cost of the human resource which is actually meant for providing public services.
When I was in higher secondary school, I received coaching from some well-known coaching centers of the valley. The staff there was mostly from government schools and colleges. One day, a college teacher said with a sigh: “My conscience everyday curses me, because the time I am teaching here, I should’ve been actually teaching students in my college, from where I am receiving a hefty monthly salary”. His conscience seemed hurt, but not to the extent that could’ve stopped him.
Such things are doubling the magnitude of loss incurred – first, the human resource meant for providing quality services in government institutions is being lost; and second, the employment opportunities available in private sector for many deserving candidates are being occupied up.
Not everything should be associated with a price tag. What has sent education on the path of commercialisation is the closing of schools for long periods due to one reason or the other in Kashmir. After passing high school, I was enrolled in a well-known private higher secondary school, but still I had to join a coaching centre when the school shut down for months in winter. What is a student supposed to do all these months at home, that too at the beginning of the school session? Everything continues in winter – government, functions, outings, offices, shops, transport, etc, but a mountain falls on routine school work. Snow is not a curse. Without it, the valley will turn into a desert. The snow has been there from centuries. It is not something like a new guest who arrived yesterday and will leave by tomorrow. It will be there always. Wisdom lies in creating a balance with this beautiful element of nature by using modern tools, so that our daily activities/ services don’t suffer. Besides, it is the duty of every individual, irrespective of where he or she works, to not let oneself be wasted or manipulated in the race for money. Whatever you can do in your individual capacity for the benefit of people, especially with “free of cost services”, do that! Don’t wait for the system. You are the system!

musaib3139@gmail.com

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