Cash in the prize draw;Letter

19th February 1999 at 00:00
I WRITE to express my disquiet at the competition currently organised by the Daily Record and Sunday Mail in which schools have the chance to win a trip to Florida or a cash prize.

My first objection to schools participating in this competition arises from the fact that schools in this country are (or should be) wholly funded by the taxpayer. It is wrong in principle that any public body, be it a school or hospital, for example, should accept money from a private source if this is used to provide resources which should be provided by the state.

My second (stronger) objection is rooted in the ethical implications of young children being used in a private company's marketing strategy. It is more than likely that the organisers of this competition will have calculated the costs involved which can be set against their expected extra revenue. In other words, it is not an act of charity on their part but a cynical recognition of the financial problems facing schools which they hope to exploit for their own ends.

Consequently, schools are seen to be promoting the tabloid press through posters, cards and boxes which they are highly visible within the school environment. This is surely wrong and unethical from an educational point of view.

This is the third such competition in recent months: the Evening Times organised a similar competition last year and News International (which publishes The TES Scotland) and Walkers crisps are doing likewise. The caravan of commercialism has started. Do we as educators have the courage to say stop?

L. Franchi Queens Way, Alexandria

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