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The Contender
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5 Points

Commercialization in education is Ethical or non Ethical

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/6/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 14,689 times Debate No: 60092
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




Commercialization of education has been a fairly recent trend in China resulting from the educational reform in the last two decades. It mainly materializes itself in mushrooming private schools at different levels and public and private universities at high education level. In a sense, it has added a financial element to the qualifications of attending private schools and public and private universities. Undoubtedly, it affects millions of families. As a result, it also changes the traditional concepts of education in Chinese society, including student-teacher relationship, educational purposes, and attitudes towards knowledge. While it is difficult to predict its future, we would certainly benefit from examining the current status of commercialization of education in China. Theoretical probing into it should also shed light on various factors involved in education commercialization.
Commercialization of education comes at a time when China is experiencing fast economic development over the recent two decades. Undoubtedly, education commercialization requires structural adjustments, organizational reshuffling, accountability shifts, reconceptualization of whom education is serving, and market oriented running mechanisms.2 This should not be in any substantive way different from commercialization in other areas such as entertainment and service institutions. However, unlike commercialization in other aspects of social life, education commercialization is running against two fundamental concepts in China. First, education in its Confucian and therefore Chinese cultural tradition has never been for profit and profit only. Second, education in China is designed to create opportunities for upward social mobility for those who aspire. Simply put, the first would involve re-thinking of the traditional roles of teachers, students, and purposes of education. The second pertains directly to the role money plays in getting into education in the first place, which may block opportunities for many aspiring poor to start with.
ommercialization of education can and will happen at two different levels: administrative and instructional. The administrative level would require running the institute like an enterprise, focusing on budgetary cost-effect, seeking resources, product evaluation and corresponding adjustment, new hiring policy, and new relationship between teachers and students. Instructional level commercialization would treat the whole process of teaching and learning as cost-effect driven, focusing on learning/teaching as a necessary step for producing a product, re-adjusting the purposes of learning and teaching, depersonalization in the whole process of learning/teaching, and utility oriented curricular objectives.
It is usually unwise to predict the future. However, if history is of any use, we know that the future is created through what we do and are doing today. It is a continuum of the present. The commercialization of education in China faces a similar future in the sense that we are shaping it through our participation and non-participation today. While this commercialization is more than an educational phenomenon, it certainly is going to affect generations to come as far as their education is concerned. To be both responsive to this relatively recent phenomenon in education and responsible for our future generations" education, we are obligated to explore the issue from both an immediate and distal perspectives. An immediate perspective would focus on what it means to us now and to education. Distal perspective would allow us to consider beyond ourselves into the future and beyond education into its ramification in other related and affected fields such as economy, sociology, politics, etc.

Instead of offering impossible answers, we ask some questions that could be both immediate and distal in perspective.

" Why was the photographer in the video so vehemently against the commercialization of education? As a stake-holder, what might be his reason for criticizing it? How will a sociologist and an economist respond to his criticism?
" If you were a student in a Chinese high school (as is the photographer"s daughter), what would be the biggest concerns you would have in continuing your pursuit of education in universities? Are these concerns related to any issues beyond education?
" As a teacher caught in this commercialization of education, what has changed in your relationship with your students? Their parents? Your administrators? What kind of ramifications would this have on your instructional practice and ideals? Why?
" Who would benefit most from the commercialization of education? Who would suffer most? How can these problems be solved within the framework of commercialization of education? Or should they be resolved in other larger framework of reference?
" Is there an issue of equity regarding access to education in this commercialization of education development? If so, how can this be resolved? Or could it be ever resolved when today"s limited resources in China put constraints on the number of youths who can be educated?
" What are some of the Western experiences that China can learn about running education? Can they serve as points of reference for China"s education? Or should China"s education only be understood and run within its distinctive social and organizational structures?
" What"s the role of knowledge in education commercialization? If we can put a price tag on learning and knowledge, how are the market values of education decided across disciplines and over time? What are the implications of such practice for teaching and learning?
" Examining the past of education in China, we would notice the strong tendency of utilitarianism in obtaining education. Is that the same as commercialism? Why or why not?


I appreciate the topic given by my opponent as it is one of the most trending topics in today's world. 'Commercialization of education' is a very common and a simple phenomenon these days and perhaps my opponent has made use of such technical language as to make it seem a 'complex' topic. My learned friend has merely taken China in consideration while explaining about the commercialisation. But I would rather expand the area of study.

Aptly said by my opponent that commercialisation of education will lead to a drastic change in the traditional education styles involving a similar change in student-teacher relationship. My opponent said " in its Confucian and therefore Chinese cultural tradition has never been for profit and profit only." Indeed, I agree that today almost all institutions are driven by profit motive but are we still in a position to generalise the statement? Perhaps no. Some organisations still function to serve the society. Consider this. An orphanage or a school for the blind with minimal fees for education, work for the societal welfare and not specifically for profit motive. If we creep out of China and look at countries still in their developing stage, there are government run organisations with a fee as affordable by even the poorest sections of the society, which run on the welfare motive as juxtaposed with profit orientedness. Are we still in a position to say that profit is the sole driving motive for commercialisation? Perhaps the fee that is being charged is only as much as is needed to fund the institution to function smoothly.

Further, studies have shown that through commercialisation of education, students have come into the contact of experienced and expert teaching wherein, if we take the example of new coaching centres being opened, we say that expert and professional teachers who are recruited pass on this knowledge to the students in the most effective manner. So if students are eventually benefiting from this modern system of education why not adopt it and use it as a means for national development?

"The administrative level would require running the institute like an enterprise, focusing on budgetary cost-effect,..."

'Pro' used the word 'cost-effect driven' system which may have certain other connotations as against how I interpret the terminology. So what he really means to say is that commercialised centres will actually try to cut down on costs keeping a focus on their budgets and profits. As an addition to this, in a rather brief manner, what he meant was that it would lead to incompetency in the teaching process. And so it concludes that commercialisation will lead to cheating on the customers, befooling them which is ultimately unethical. But if this is what he meant then may be he is wrong. Because incompetency in teachers will ultimately lead to students under-performing which subsequently will lead to less number of enrollments of students in the next session. And going by what my dearest opponent earlier said, if profit is what really induces commercialisation, then the very concept of 'focussing on budgetary cost-effect' and cost-cutting (in a need to earn more profits) becomes wholly void.

Another issue highlighted by Pro was that it poses obstructions to the poor who are in dearth of money to start their education.
"... the role money plays in getting into education in the first place, which may block opportunities for many aspiring poor to start with."
To some extent, agreed! But then here, there comes something like 'free-funded education' which is provided by governments of various developing nations specially in the interest of the poor who are not in a position to fund the education process. Or if still my opponent doesn't keep terms with me on this point I can perhaps give a solution to this. It is not something very new to this world, but something which some institutions have been doing from the past. An exam is held to determine the intelligence level of a student and depending upon the marks obtained by him, he is given a relevant discount on the tution fee, which to some extent solves the problem.

While browsing the net I found something very interesting. There is this excerpt from that article relating to benefits of commercialisation of education.

"Firstly, commercialization of higher education generally results in state-of-the-art facilities for all students as money is no longer a constraint. Moreover as universities are free to enter into corporate ties with variety of industries they can improve and upgrade their infrastructure through corporate funding. The better infrastructure ultimately benefits the students. The students also get the opportunity to get trained in corporate firms and get valuable industry exposure because of a Memorandum of Understanding that is in place between the university and the organization. Another boon of commercialization of higher education is the fact that surveys found privatized universities being more professional in their approach than their public counterparts."

So I would end this here. Hope the voters as well as my opponent understand what I have tried to explain them. Hope to see some strong argument from the Pro side.
Debate Round No. 1


shreeji forfeited this round.


My opponent has forfeited. Do I think that he lacks any argument for the same? Or do I think that he has infact started agreeing with me on this point? I don't know what to say but i think the voters are intelligent enogh to decide who the ultimate winner is. Voters please vote for me.
Debate Round No. 2


shreeji forfeited this round.


I don't know what he is up to.My opponent has wasted this debate. The topic was so good but pro's arguments weren't. I hereby end this debate. It is ready for the audience now. You all are free to vote for it.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Tommy.leadbetter 7 years ago
I think it should not be commercialised, should I accept?
Posted by rings48 7 years ago
Posted by Preston 7 years ago
plus its unformatted so its like a wall of text. underline major points and organize statements.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 7 years ago
I would suggest you change the proposition so that people can understand your stance. At the moment just reading the title shows you are Pro for both Ethical and non Ethical. Although you have a first round argument, many people will not read the extensive argument just to find your view if it agrees with theirs. Just a helpful hint.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by eastcoastsamuel 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: This started as a very promising debate, but was unfortunately cut short by Pro's forfeiting of Rounds 2 and 3. Con effectively responded to Pro's only arguments in Round 1, and therefore receives my vote.

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