lawzmag.comDear reader, this question has been hauntingus for pastfew years and probably it may be for you alsoand others, who have concern for the “ethics”in education.Before you start reading the student-professorconversation presented below, first let us try tounderstand the definitions of student and customer,of course there are many definitions, following are fewamong them:

Definition of student: A person who studies; a personwho is enrolled for a course of instruction in a collegeor university.Definition of customer: Customer is the purchaser of aservice or goods, but where the transaction is defined asservice- delivery rather than production – consumptionof goods-Or-

A person or organization who receives a product/serviceor information, but is not part of the organizationsupplying it, also called as patient in health care sectorand a student in education sector-Or-

Anyone for whom an organization provides goods orservices. The customer judges quality. Any individual orgroup or organization that has expectations regardingthe physical attributes of an output made by a process,or the interaction through which the output wasdelivered. One who receives the output of a process.Informally, an individual with whom one must deal:a tough customer. Anyone who is imparted by theproduct, service or process. Customer may be internal,that is, the person, or organization that receives or isimparted by a product/service or process output but isnot part of the organization producing it.In the last years a new usage has dropped up in higher

education literature, the student as “CUSTOMER”. Anyissue of the chronicle of higher education indeed.almost any private university publication contains theimplicit or explicit message that students are customersof the university.This usage accompanies the business jargon thathas also crept into academic discourse, for example,responsibility center management, portfolio ofacademic output.According to the few spiritually oriented teachers thisdevelopment is lamentable as they feel that, it debasesthe relationship between student teacher, and for fewothers, easygoing, unsecured, ignorant, teachers, itis very disturbing as it upsets the routine easygoingactivities, because, they can’t bluff and intimidatethe students anymore with their illogical sophistries,lecture notes transferring techniques, by awardingpoor grades just to keep the creative misch-ievous students under control.In one sense, it is to be accepted that,students are customers for if no studentscome to university, there would be no needfor faculty members! And if faculty membersare not there, is there any need of educationalinstitutions? Is there any contradictory viewabout this?


In continuation of my previous conversation, Iwould request you to waste your time furtherby reading the following argumentation doneby a highly creative and tough customer(Student) with his vendor (Professor) in the educationshop (University).A student approaches the University administrator andstarts his discussion queriesStudent 1(S1): I want to learn, may I know the cost of learning at this university.University administrator (U.A): Do you mean tuition

fee?S1: yes, no doubt about that.U.A: $ 4400 Per Annum.S1: Can’t you reduce the price? Is there any concessionor discount?

U.A: Yes, why not? If you are among the top 10 in theentrance test, then 50% fee reduction will be there.

S1: Any further discount, during the course?

UA: Yes, if you get “A” grade in all the courses in the 1styear further 50% fee reduction will be there.

S1: Very fine, thank you, then I will take up the entrancetest please give the application form and prospectus.

UA: Take this, thank you; we will look forward for you.

S1 gets admission in the university after appearing forthe entrance test and also, he gets 50% fee waive off,as he stands in the top 10. He then contacts the courseregistration advisor, who is unfortunately one of theprofessors in the university.

Professor (P): Mr. S1 welcome to Xyz University.

S1: Thank you, Sir.

Customer maybe internal, thatis, the person,or organizationthat receives oris imparted by aproduct/serviceor process outputbut is not part ofthe organizationproducing it.

P: Are you interested to register for the course offeredby me?

S1: If you can teach me well, I will register for your course.

P: I will try my level best.

S1: Then O.K, Sir, you please register my name for yourcourse.Then after attending few classes of P by S1, Professorasks S1…

P: Are you following my course instructions?

S1: No, perfectly not.

P: Ah! It is your problem, all my lectures are very wellprepared and are the best? It is you who can’t understand.

S1: Yes sir, you are true, because when you can’tunderstand yourself that you teach, then how can youexpect that I can? Understand your lectures?

P: Do you want to get good grade or not?

S1: Yes of course, but I don’t think that I willget good grade as long as you teach me!

P: You are very arrogant. You have forgottenthat you are talking to your professor.

S1: Yes, I may be arrogant, but you areignorant of what you are speaking; aboveall you are intimidating me.

P: How is it so?

S1: You have forgotten that I am yourcustomer and customer is boss; Customersatisfaction should be your motto. Don’tforget that Customer is always right! Andyou are a vendor. You are supposed to provide qualityservice.

P: What? You think that you are a customer, and I am avendor. Canyou explain me the real sense of this relationship?

S1: Sir, it is simple: I am a customer, because I buy yourservices, and you are a vendor, as you sell your services.

P: Ah! Stop a minute; it is acceptable, that you are acustomer, buthow can I be a vendor?

S1: Sir, if you don’t mind, can I ask you one question?

P: Yes, go ahead.

S1: Sir, can you work without drawing the salary? Canyou do free services?

P: What rubbish are you talking? I am not doing anycharity here.

S1: OK Sir, I accept that you are not doing charity here,But, do you think that I am mentally challenged, beggar,orphan, or slum resident who is studying at free of costhere?

P: You talk foolishly.

S1: Yes sir, may be that is true; “Every person is a fool insomebody’s opinion”

P: Don’t forget that you are talking to a person of highcredentials, come to your sense.

S1: No, sorry sir, I can’t come to my senses as I still haven’t

gone out of my sense! Sir, your credentials are givingyou food but what about me? I will die without food, asyou will deprive me of my prospective credentials. Morethat I will lose my money as I have paid so muchto the management and don’t forget that you are amanagement representativeapart from a professor.

P: Go to hell whatever youwant you can do that.

S1: Yes sir, definitely, I amready to go to hell, but I willnot go alone. I will take youalso. Are you ready?

P: I will report this matter tothe concerned authorities.You have used offendingstatements against yourteacher.

S1: That’s all what you can do.It is true, someone has rightlysaid that,

“One who doesn’t become asoldier would become an informer”, that aptly appliesto you. Sir, I will file a lawsuit against you as you have provided poor quality service to your customer

Anyone for whom anorganization provides goodsor services. The customerjudges quality. Any individualor group or organization thathas expectations regardingthe physical attributes ofanoutput made by a process, orthe interaction through whichthe output was delivered

P: If you do that you will be dismissed.

S1: Fine, I will claim the refund of money for the deficientservice.

P: I don’t want to talk to you any more.

S1: Probably it is not possible, as I am alsonot having any interest in doing the same.Student S2 who is a classmate of S1intervenes and talks to S1

S2: What did you do? Where shall you gonow?Is there any such judicial forum, where youcan prove that?

“Learning is a commodity”-“Professoris a seller/vendor/service provider”-

“Student is a customer”-“Education is aMarket” – “University is the site of servicecenter” -“Tuition fee” is the “price of thecommodity”.

S1: You are right, but I am not wrong!Is there an ethical creature that is hearingthe grievances of S1?If so then please try to provide a legal remedy to S1,if possible. Or else, gladly accept that “student is a customer”

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