In our young days Shastra Sahitya Parishad was active in the Schools with their quizzes and selling their books and magazines. They created a market for their products by getting children involve in the quizzes. They gave away prizes and published the photos of the winners in their magazines. School kids were seen studying their books to win the quizzes. The questions in the quiz programs were based on knowledge and contents present in the Parishad's textbooks; so without reading these books kids cannot win, whatever be their learning from other sources. I had bought a number of Shastra Sahithya Parishad books in those days; the books were actually promoting aethist/ communist ideologies hidden in them.
Now more such agencies are active in our schools with their marketing strategies. The coaching agencies for Engineering and Medicine entrance tests are conducting quiz programs offering 'scholarships' for the winners. In fact most of the students who appear for the scholarship tests get 'scholarships'. Scholarship is for enrolling in their coaching program that costs around Rupees Ten Thousand per student. The students are netted without even they know what is happening. Instead of advertising and waiting for clients the clever business men are invading schools with variety of strategies like this.
An agency called TIME conducts such s 'scholarship exams' at National level Kairali Vijnana Pareeksha, Hindi Bhashan, Science/Maths/English Olympiad, Green Olympiad, Power Quiz conducted by Kerala State Electricity Board etc..etc.. My kids, like hundreds of other kids won the TIME scholarship exam and they telephoned me to reach their office and collect certificate. When I reached their I saw a mother of a kid being canvassed, who have come their for similar purpose, being canvassed by their front office personnel to enrol her kid for the course. The course that costs Rs.11000 will be offered for Rs.9500 to her kid because the kid had won the 'scholarship' -A clever tactic to trap the parents and kids into their coaching scheme.
The "Power Quizzes" organised by the Officer's Association of the KSEB engages students to learn about KSEB but questions are definitely embedded to promote campaigns the leftist Association are taking up. Though relatively innocuous, such Power Quizzes too intend to influence the parents and society through the kids.
If such tendencies are not curtailed soon the schools will be used by every kind of business, social and religious activities to get children engaged for promoting their ideologies and products.
Should the society allow such business interests to use schools and school kids for promoting their products? Is it ethical to use innocent children to promote ideologies and products, camouflaged as quiz programs, scholarship exams etc.?