Paid Awards dissuade talent, innovations

A TREND OF RECENT YEARS THAT HAS GOT currency and become commonplace in education India (now well taken over by private sector in all segments), is inception of various kinds of awards and giving them away in events sponsored directly or indirectly by those getting these awards. The plaque, trophy and photo click then becomes a big statement of achievement flashing on their websites as if it were a ‘Nobel’ endorsement of all their claims and offerings. The spreading practice can be squarely termed as unethical and unfair, and most of times befooling oneself. It is in fact an expensive and shameless advertisement.

The modus operandi of these awards given by publishing houses, foundations or so-called industry associations is strikingly similar. A known education magazine thrives only on awards; its journalists instead of journalism are put on job of getting speakers from government departments. And then it gives away every award possible under the sun. It is a bizarre situation. Most of times, these award functions, are accompanied by holding exhibitions and expositions side by side. While there is nothing wrong in it, however, there are small group of people who facilitate these shows at a price. They are like middlemen, whereby they induce prospective awardees and in turn get their share from organizers. Those receiving award pay either through nomination fee, as sponsors or as exhibitors. This way attendance at functions is also ensured, your employees, family members and friends are obliged to see you receive ‘the award’ and you have also paid for their lunch or dinner.

There could be a few exceptions, but the most common sights of rampant award functions are people getting awards, somebody deserving must be getting instead. While there is nothing illegal about it, yet the community engaged in education should introspect and bring a degree of dignity to the sector. Education sector lacks industrial standing; it lacks collective voice in various layers, and certainly it doesn’t have a quality culture.

The communities engaged in education have a common stake to make education the backbone of national prosperity in true sense. For this, real champions, talented people, innovations and models need to be pampered may be with awards and publicity. Let it be unquestionable, spirit lifting and qualifying so that society takes a notice.