Thursday, March 10, 2011

One dollar for every child

The Toronto District school board is looking to expand their TV screens in schools pilot project. School news and student-generated content is broadcasted to screens in the halls. Now the company which put the TVs in place would like to take it to the next level and show ads for 30% of the time. Approximately 2hrs a day. Naturally the school would receive some ad-revenue. There is a large divide over the potential harm this would do.

The very nature of ads are to influence behavior. Typically to influence consumer behaviour. Should that influence be exerted on impressionable minds? Yes, they do see ads online and on TV at home, so why should school be any different? Ads have been used in the classroom to teach media awareness, but it is not a far cry to see a day where teachers would be unable to critique ads for fear of losing sponsorship or ad revenue.

A second point is regarding the amount of revenue given to the school. It's being reported that each school would receive 1200 a year. Many highschools have approximately 1000 students, so one dollar per student per year. 1000 students for two hours a day for the entire school year is a considerable amount of time to make an impression. A much larger amount would make a much more compelling argument. Rough calculations pose revenue of about 40,000. A paltry 1200 going to the school seems ridiculous.

As someone in the business of training I do understand the balance between education and profitability. The continuing privatization of education can be a very slippery slope. Universities are already well on their way. Now it's coming to highschools, next will be elementary level. I don't think I want to see that day come.

I'm glad to hear  that this won't be going through, but I don't see this going away. If anything this will spark many more ideas of sponsorship and corporate pentration in our school system.

Links:
School board weighs expanding TV project
Propsoal fails to pass

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