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The New Stuff

Summer Camps: From need to opportunity

Just how big is the summer camp market in India now? I think it won’t be an exaggeration to call it a small to mid-sized industry now. I mean wherever you go, there is a summer camp going on. The pool of my society has been royally hijacked by swimming summer camp sessions, the club house by music, dance or arts teachers and this poor kid of my neighborhood household is always busy in some or other extra-curricular activities as part of her summer camp training. To add to that, there are at least 3-4 pamphlets in my morning newspaper everyday advertising of summer camp classes in all possible nook & corner of my locality. And about the variety of courses being offered in these summer camps – the less I speak the better. From adventure to creativity to confidence, these summer camps claim to groom your kid for anything and everything in this world!

Nothing wrong in kids being engaged in meaningful activities and getting chance to learn new things. In fact earlier I used to be quite fascinated with the concept of these summer camps in metros. Always thought this kind of exposure to be a wonderful thing for overall personality development of kids. But with passing years and the increasing number of camps every day, I think I have my doubts now on the efficacy and quality of most of these programs.

Firstly I see it being totally commercialized now; like many other educational offerings in India even this has become business for many. If I look at the quality of swimming lessons being offered in my society, I can very confidently say that the teacher is just another freestyle swimmer who never learnt the strokes in a professional way. Yes, he knows how to manage himself in water and is making quite many bucks by teaching just that. This neighborhood arts teacher who teaches painting is yet another novice who knows basics of strokes; good that you’ve penchant for painting and know bit of color management but no you’re not ready yet to make it your profession, that too of teaching to others!

Secondly, if I think it from kids’ perspective, exactly how many hobbies a kid is supposed to develop these days? I can at least speak it w.r.to few kids around me, same li’ll girl goes to swimming, singing, piano, painting, pottery & then finally in evening for football camp with weekends reserved for Bollywood dance classes. Phew, even counting these many items has made me tired, I have no idea how she or many like hers manage to cope up with all these in one summer vacation? Weren’t summer vacations meant to be like holidays with bit of studies and more of fun? Spending holidays by doing constructive things is an excellent idea but then can a kid have knack for so many varied things at the same time? If the kid is interested in doing these things, then perfectly fine but is it ok to make the kids hop from one camp to another just to keep them engaged? I at times wonder is it kids’ interests or peer pressure on parents or their own busy schedule which makes them get their kids enrolled in so many activities at the same time.

I’m not a parent yet, so I might not be right in understanding the kids’ psychology or personality development part of it, but from commercial angle I do think that this whole summer camp is a full-fledged business opportunity now. There is a strong demand in the market and hence the supply in great abundance; now it does not matter whether the supply is of quality services or not as currently, all the target audience knows is that they need this service anyhow! Is this segment also going the route of parallel education which is already a Rs. 10,000 crore plus industry in India? Remember those millions and zillions of IIT, Medical & CAT coaching centers present at almost every sq ft in certain parts of the country.....


5 comments :

Iya said...

gone are the days when summer holidays were spent doing nothing but playing and having fun. Sigh, being a child is no longer a easy job.

Kanu, while we were woking on CSA awareness month we did come across another aspect of Summer camp and that was from security angle. In fact TOI did a article on it too.

Jack said...

Kanupriya,

Read 2 pending posts now. I agree with you on what you said in closing lines of previous post - Isn’t it true that for each bird who tries to fly there are many, waiting down to catch her or pull her down? Lyrics do matter even if the music is very good. In this post you have stated facts. With so much of money to be made everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon with no regard for quality. Even parents may be to blame for this as they would like children to be out of their hair during this period. Let the child choose own hobby and develop with some external help, if need be.

Take care

Abhishek said...

Perhaps we should coin a new term 'trophy kids' on the lines of 'trophy wife'! Because if your kid is not getting 99.5% marks and is ace at Tennis, chess, computers, singing, dancing... how will you face others whose kids are all of these and more!

Renu said...

Today parents want their children to learn everything and in the process children become like robots, running from one class to another. And when they grow into amaterialistic youth, parents complain. But they nevr taught them anything other than working for success and money.

Ponnarasi Kothandaraman said...

That was indeed a thought provoking write up! :) In a way i pity this generation kids, the resources and the competition that they have is far far more than the prev. generations :) And so is the expectation on them! :D

Cheers
PK!

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