Undergraduate journalism courses must be scrapped, says media professionals

New Delhi : Journalism and Mass Communication institutes in India have grown in number with close to 150 media and communication courses ranging from bachelors, masters, post graduate diploma to diploma and certificate programmes on offer. An assessment conducted by CMS Academy, New Delhi reveals that there are inconsistencies in these programmes that are being offered and there are lack of parameters under which one can evaluate the courses and the institutes for their quality. As a follow up of this study, a symposium on Vision for Media & Communication Education in India was organized on August 7th, 2015 at IIC.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr N B Rao, Chairman of CMS, said that, “Taking a long term view to observe the inter-linkages of the sectors within media and communication is important.” Adding to the agenda of the symposium, Ms Vasanti, Director General and Project Lead of the study said that, “The state of media and communication education in India demands a standardized system to be put into place.  With an attempt to address such issues related to curriculum, faculty training, a group called Alliance of Media and Communication Educators have been formed.”

Quality Parameters Ranking: More than 40 speakers attended this day-long symposium and participated in ranking quality parameters to evaluate media and communication programmes in the country. The seven main quality parameters that emerged out of the CMS Academy study are-
Student Quality
Teacher Quality
Learning & Teaching Resources
Curriculum Quality
Learning & Teaching Practices/Quality
Employability  & Entrepreneurial Ability/Knowledge & Skills Acquisition Quality
Vision, Leadership, Research & Innovation

The group consisting of senior academicians, journalists, media critics and researchers laid down their points/weightage on each of the above mentioned parameters that will help CMS Academy draft a final quality parameter document to evaluate specialized media courses. Vision for Media and Communication in India: The panel discussion on Vision for Media and Communication in India, discussed the necessity of standardizing the media education sector. In view of the findings, the panelists also felt that there are far too many factors that are ailing the sector. Veteran journalist, Mr. Q W Naqvi remarked that under-graduate journalism courses must be scrapped as students need to build their foundation on a particular subject before studying journalism.

Dr Nalini Rajan and Professor B P Sanjay, who were part of the study as the Indian Advisory Group members, also reiterated that media education sector should train students to adapt to various organizational requirements. With the digital revolution, news media has changed the way it functions. However, the news media education sector has not been able to keep up with these advancements.

Mr. Nidheesh Tyagi from BBC Hindi in his observation of the media education sector said that the teachings should be focused outside the classroom. He added that young professionals are relying on Google for news stories, which is unfortunate. Group Discussions- Thereafter, two parallel group discussions were held on Media & Communication Industry Requirements and Employer Expectations and Harmonizing Curriculum and Teaching Practices. The discussion on Harmonizing Curriculum and Teaching Practices involved faculties looking into the necessary components of developing a curriculum and adoption of innovative teaching practices. All its participants felt that the curriculum is not developed according to industry requisite, that these curriculum need to be updated regularly and training its faculties do not happen at all. 

The final panel discussion on Indicators of Quality Media and Communication Education had industry professionals deliberating on the quality of the young professionals hired by them. “The journalism institutes are not at all aware of the changes in the industry; there were hardly any books to teach on the media scenario in India”, Mr. K G Suresh, Consulting Editor of DD News, said. Advertising professional Mr. Rajkumar Jha, said that media and communication institutes’ approach of teaching students need to be revamped. Professional experience for a longer duration during the course can play an important in adapting to the current industry needs.

About CMS Academy- CMS Academy is a training and resource centre committed to provide quality Professional Development Programs (PDPs) in media & communication education.. It’s research based Professional Development Programs specifically focus on innovation and enhancing quality standards of the education system in the country. It develops professional development programmes, designs curriculums/ courses, ranks courses/ programmes, etc. Its Annual ranking of Media and Communication programs /courses will advocate for establishing global standards for media education in the country. 

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