Monday, December 27, 2010

How Not to Promote Schools

The end of 2010 is days away and here I am taking a reprieve from all the holiday parties around me. While much of the Christian world has wrongly celebrated Christmas with commercialism, I'd like to share my insights on how not to promote schools. I thought of this post some months ago when I was asked to be part of the judge committee for a local school's "talent show" which was held in one of the malls in Cavite.

In the time of economic recession due to financial blunders of global proportions, finding a carrot to stay afloat in a sink or swim business called education is not that easy and the following ideas might be a good source of inspiration for all the school administrators out there.

Allow me.

1. Lose Terribly in Inter-School Contests

In a single academic year, there are thousands of contests for schools to join in. In the academic area, we have Math Olympiads, Quiz Bee, Oration, Writing contests, Science contests which involves but not limited to experiments and discoveries, Robotics Olympiad.

If you are a school administrator, you would want to send a team that would make a good name of your school. Remember, these inter-school contests are avenues for your students to gauge what they have learned and continue to learn in your school. Parents will be watching these games and you want to keep your customers happy.

It's alright to lose but what's important is you played and participated in the games. But you wouldn't want to become the butt of jokes after the event because these will definitely circle around the schools and nowadays, the Internet has it's way of globalizing almost all kinds of embarrassment for any institution. Take for instance, you joined the Math Olympiad and after the rounds, the judges start to give a wink or a smile to one another whenever the representative of School X take its turn. Or the scribe for the contest tallies the point in favor of your opponent since the scribe has developed the habit of scoring against your team automatically because you have not answered any question correctly since.

Lose terribly in inter-school contests is one way not to promote your school.

The idea stated above applies to other interscholastic events like sports, performance events which include but are not limited to voice and choral contests, debates and speeches, poetry and writing contests and others.

One story I heard:

Inter-School Basketball Tournament. Every member school comes in high spirit, with the full support of every joining schools. Teams come in buses and in complete basketball uniforms. You will notice that a certain popultaion arrives in trickles, using their own cars and arrives wearing their own inter-Baranggay basketball uniforms.

So you begin to wonder if there are other tournaments happening in the same venue but the guys are convening in the same area as you are so that gives you the feeling that they must be a member school. So you wait for their big boss to distribute their basketball uniforms until the whistle blows to signal the opening of the event.

Then everyone takes the cue, each team forms a line and oh how cute these kids are in basketball jerseys, multi-thousand sneakers and all the peripherals these amateurs wear to feel good about themselves. Then you  direct your gaze to the one team that wore no uniform. Ouch!

Parents, tournament organizers, on-lookers, groupies and haters start to ask, what school is this? Joining an inter-school basketball tournament, showing up without any uniform?

That is plain demoralizing for the students and parents are seeing these and you know what, they don't want their kids to be associated with such disorganized school.

2. Do a School Talent Show of Student in Public without Talents

You know what I mean with this. Imagine bystanders, invited guests and again, parents of the students watching the show. With all the billboards and tarpaulins shouting out your school's name while the sing and dance performance of your students were inspired by the likes of Sexbomb Dancers, Madonna, Britney Spears and all the dirty pop-culture you can think of. Students performing in the middle of a mall, wearing  two-piece and dancing with someone what looks like a position straight out of book Kama Sutra.

To make what looks like a gross neglect on the part of the marketing people more serious, you invite a stand-up comedian whose main line of laugh stock is cross-dressing and sexual undertones.          

And then, the school proudly shows off students who can't hit the right note, forgotten stanzas of spoken word performance and in-between, you have technical problems like malfunctioning microphones and master of ceremonies not knowing the singular-plural rules.

What do you get? A blockbuster of flops and boos.

3. Remove/Stop School Programs and Services without Announcement to Parents

Tell all the lies to parents to cover up the real reason for stopping a school program or services which the parents are really happy about. It's like killing the goose that lays the golden eggs if you do this. What happens is that the parents are the last ones to know about the changes in school.

For reasons known only to men of devilish nature, a school will run based on a micro-management albeit dictatorial, certain small schools survive this kind of a system.

One example:

A sports event during summer time is expected to be hot. Then come one teacher excusing herself from the heat, goes to the principal to ask permission to go home. Since we are in a micro-management system, either the principal says yes or no. For the teacher to get a nod, one must say all the negative things about the event.

The bull nods, then comes raging to the event and stops it.


Everyone stops, takes a ride home and laughs at the decision made by the bull. Meanwhile, parents complain about the stoppage and asks, ain't sports supposed to be tiring?

4. Start a Program that Do Not Cater to your Clients

A fact: Football,  basketball, swimming, chess, taekwondo, volleyball, lawn tennis, table tennis, badminton and athletics are some of the proven and tested sports program that truly invites parents to enroll their children in schools here in the Philippines.

Any other program introduced can only tell you two things, either you have a really, really fool-proof  secret program known only to you or you simply want to kiss asses of your bosses.

The four stated ideas are proven ways to promote your schools into oblivion. Any other ideas you have in mind? Send them to me.

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