Summer Camps: From need to opportunity
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.....