ln some countries, fast food restaurants and supermarkets give money to schools to promote their products. Do you think this is positive or negative development?

-[Harpreet Singh Dhillon]

ln the highly competitive era of today, marketers such as restaurants and supermarkets have realized the marketing opportunity offered by schools and so are giving money to schools. Even though the administrators of schools are using that money to raise funds for school activities, this is definitely disadvantageous for school children.

To begin with, adverts of fast foods and their availability within school premises would help to develop children's taste for such foods. This can increase problems like obesity, which in turn is the root cause of many other health issues among children. As it is, children today have sedentary lifestyles, which makes it imperative that healthier food options should be made available to them. The welfare of students should be the top priority of schools and they should not fall in the bait of these companies for monetary benefits.

Secondly, such commercial intrusions within the academic environment can promote consumerism. For instance, if schools promote advertisements of any products like toys or computer games from supermarkets through educational materials, billboards or school television, children would think that they have the approval of teachers and school authorities. Consequently, these vulnerable children pester their parents to buy those products, which can upset the family budget. This is a very vivid example of how commercialization of schools can promote materialism in children.

Supporters of such practices claim that the money such companies give for promoting their products inside the campus, helps financially-strapped schools to buy library books or improve sports facilities. They claim that children benefit from the additional resources and facilities that schools can afford due to such funding. What they fail to see is that commercial intrusions are already present in children's lives these days and there is no scope for more.

To sum up, it is definitely a negative development to use schools to advertise their products as this may lead to unhealthy eating and a materialistic attitude in children

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