UNICEF: Noble effort, ignoble creative

The commercials are one big dud. There is zero motivation provided in the ads to the parents to send their kids to school. Which ought to have been the primary task of the communication

UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) has released a massive ad campaign that promotes the right of every child to education. Each commercial (and there are many) deals with the message that every Indian child can now get access to schooling… easily, fairly and freely.

All the ads are set in rural areas, which is where children usually skip going to school. And so that's the correct strategy. The ads essentially feature happy village kids zipping off to school, and enjoying going for classes. The ads also bring out the message that children do want to study, but get discouraged by myriad social mores.

UNICEF's ads attempt to deal with the many hurdles that prevent children from getting access to education. Caste discrimination, gender discrimination, physical disability, etc. 'Ab Padhna Pakka!' is the core communication. The one slightly cute ad in my books is where a little child constantly asks his illiterate dad many niggling questions (as children usually do), but the man is unable to answer them.

All very fine, dandy and honourable. But I am very sorry to report that while the intention is noble, UNICEF fails miserably in the delivery of the message. The commercials are one big dud, and that means a whole lot of money down the drain. Here's the big flaw in the communication: there is zero motivation provided in the ads to the parents to send their kids to school. Which ought to have been the primary task of the communication. All we are told is children should go to school but there's no 'reason why' provided in the ads.

I daresay, most poor villagers are well aware schools are a good idea, but don't send their kids because of their poverty-stricken lives, and the need for 'all hands on the deck' in the household and job-related work. The communication should, therefore, have mainly focussed on how education can change the lives of their children, of what they can become in life. This was not to be, sadly. The ads remain at the level of 'please send the bachchas for padhai'. Yes, there's enough sing-song in the ads, but they remain preachy. And am afraid that route will cut no ice with a poor peasant who has no idea where his next meal is going to come from.

Of course, ab padhna pakka hona chahiye. Magar kyon?



Natabar Dey

5 years ago

UNICEF is the haven for English-speaking, high-society-bred, otherwise-unemloyable people, without any interest in hiring really dedicated and creative persons with a passion to serve-not those with passion only to build careers out of the miseries of life of the downtrodden and those without opportunities. This is the malaise with all the international bodies-the UN, the IMF/WB, ADB, &c. And that is why these are career building organs, not interested in the development of the human society as such.


5 years ago

while education does indeed improve lives for the better,the poor clearly know that going to schools in the village doesnt contribute much either in the long run or short run.govt schools are the worst with teacher absenteeism,lack of accountability and such.in urban slums parents send their children to hole in the wall private schools than BMC indoctrination centres.read James Tooley's Beautiful Tree
the poor dont need your paternal advise.they pretty well understand what is beneficial for them.i am sick of your elite liberal "i know what is best for you" attitude.go away commie

Cautious opening expected: Tuesday Market Preview

The market is facing pressures as policymakers grapple with ways to control rising prices

The local market is likely to open on a cautious note as economic concerns is pressurising the market. However, a rise in commodity prices resulted in US stock prices ending higher on Monday while markets in Asia were mixed on renewed worries about debt issues in Greece. The SGX Nifty was 14.50 points lower at 5,540.50 compared to its previous close of 5,555.

The market opened with gains on Monday following last week’s sell-off in commodities, especially crude, easing the government’s worries about higher prices. The Sensex and Nifty opened positive at 18,629 and 5,575. Immediately the market hit its respective intra-day high, which was higher than Friday’s high, at 18,644 and 5,586. A firming trend in the Asian markets also boosted investor sentiment here.

The market, however, soon started showing a falling trend amid choppy trade. In the morning session itself the market hit its intra-day low at 18,367 and 5,502.  Immediately thereafter the indices hot up, but lack of direction ensured that the benchmarks stayed near at the same level as yesterday. However, the market doesn’t have the strength to rally much. The Sensex rose 10 points to close at 18,529 while the Nifty fell 0.35 points at 5,551. For whatever it is worth, for the second day in a row, the market has made a higher high and a higher low.

US markets finished higher overnight, fuelled by rising crude prices, after the sharp decline last week. Traders opined that the gain in commodities is seen attracting investors back to riskier assets. In deal-related news, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group shares gained 14% after Hertz Global Holdings offered to buy the car-rental company in a deal valued at $2.36 billion in cash and stock. Biotechnology company Alkermes climbed 5% after saying it would buy a drug-technology unit of Irish drug maker Elan in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $960 million.

On the other side, concerns over Greece’s debt burden surfaced once again after ratings company Standard & Poor's cut Greece's long-term credit rating to ‘single-B’ from ‘double-B-minus’. The downgrade reflects the likelihood that Greece’s official creditors, led by the German government, may soon force private bondholders to accept an extension on Greek debt repayments coming due in the next few years.

Oil prices rebounded as US light crude rose 5.53% to close at $102.55 a barrel and Brent crude in London surged 6.2% to close at $115.90. Among precious metals, silver gained 5.2% on Monday to close at $37.11 an ounce, while gold closed up about 0.8% to 1%.

The Dow gained 45.94 points (0.36%) at 12,684.68. The S&P 500 added 6.09 points (0.45%) at 1,346.29 and the Nasdaq rose 15.69 points (0.55%) at 2,843.25.

Markets in Asia were mixed in early trade on Tuesday on fresh concerns about the debt problems in Greece and the fears of power outages in Japan, which is likely to impact production.

The Shanghai Composite gained 0.35%, the Hong Kong rose 0.76%, the Jakarta Composite climbed 0.26%, the KLSE Composite was up 0.12%, the Straits Times advanced 0.32% and the Taiwan Weighted added 0.14%. On the other hand, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.24% and then Seoul Composite declined 0.39%.

Ratings agency Crisil on Monday said microfinance industry could see market consolidation due to pressure on operating margins, even as the RBI’s decision to allow it priority status in securing bank loans would help ease liquidity problems.

The MFIs are facing liquidity crunch on banks’ reluctance to provide them loans after a strict legislation in Andhra Pradesh, their main market that accounts for about 25% of their business, hemmed their operations and negatively impacted their revenue.


2G case: Delhi HC reserves verdict on corporate honchos’ bail pleas

Opposing the corporate executives’ bail pleas, CBI’s special public prosecutor UU Lalit submitted the corporate bodies and individuals were direct beneficiaries of the entire spectrum deal and they were involved in a conspiracy along with Mr Raja to obtain benefit from the grant of spectrum licences

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today reserved its order on bail pleas of five corporate executives who were arrested for their roles in the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation scam allegedly involving former telecom minister A Raja and Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi’s MP daughter Kanimozhi, reports PTI.

Justice Ajit Bharihoke reserved his order on the pleas after CBI’s special public prosecutor UU Lalit, along with counsel for various corporate honchos, concluded their arguments.

Opposing the corporate executives’ bail pleas, Mr Lalit submitted the corporate bodies and individuals were direct beneficiaries of the entire spectrum deal and they were involved in a conspiracy along with Mr Raja to obtain benefit from the grant of spectrum licences.

He said the former minister had advanced the cut-off date for submitting applications for spectrum allocation and also altered the licensing policy to favour Swan Telecom and Unitech.

Mr Lalit also pointed out that some firms were floated only to transfer the money that changed hands following grant of spectrum licences to beneficiary telecom firms and they were closed once their purposes were served.

The corporates were part of a conspiracy where huge amount of money was transacted, said Mr Lalit adding they had also forged some documents to obtain spectrum in their favour, he said.

Former Attorney General Soli J Sorabjee had sought bail for Reliance ADAG managing director Gautam Doshi arguing that Reliance officials’ roles in the scam was minimal, limited to “structuring” a front company.

“Even if we take CBI’s allegations at their face value, the role of Reliance officials in the so-called massive scam was minimal,” he had argued.

Citing a brief CBI note, Mr Sorabjee said the only allegation against the Reliance officials was that they had “structured” a front company, Swan Telecom, with an alleged intention to cheat the DoT to bypass its licensing guidelines.

“Structuring a company is not an offence and, moreover, I am not here in the main thing (conspiracy),” he said.

“Look at their records. They have no criminal past, they were not arrested during the probe. These are relevant factors which cannot be thrown in the dustbin,” he said.

Mr Sorabjee’s stand was taken also by senior counsel Rajiv Nayar and NK Kaul, who represented two other Reliance officials Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara respectively.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, swearing by the innocence of his client, Swan Telecom director Goenka, argued CBI has not found even a single document of his firm, signed by him, relating to the 2G licensing issue.


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