A quality perspective
India brings out 45,000 newspapers, journals and periodicals in 105 languages and dialects. Yet journalism education is neglected. Experts must produce quality learning material and orient training to media needs, write Dr B P MAHESH CHANDRA GURU and MADHURA VEENA M L
What is India News Service
21 February 2005
The composite culture of India incorporates Mass Communication and
Journalism in all its languages and regions. Education in this field made its advent through western influences
via English colonial efforts. Mass
Communication and Journalism education assumes new significance in the age
of globalization and communication.
is considerable potential for national initiative and co-operation in the
production of educational materials and development of qualitative
learning methods by those who are working at various universities,
colleges and professional organizations or other institutions involved in
Mass Communication and Journalism education.
Mass Communication educators, media professionals and policy makers
are required to debate upon serious issues, challenges and
responsibilities involved in Mass Communication education in India and
provide necessary policy inputs in order to make Mass Communication
education result oriented and purposeful.
More exchanges, interactions and inputs at various levels are
required to further consolidate the core areas on which actions need to be
In India, about 45,000 newspapers,
journals and periodicals are now brought out in 105 languages and dialects. There are over 4000
daily newspapers and magazines. India
also produces the largest number o ffeature films and newsreels in the world. All India Radio is known as the largest radio network in the
world. It runs 195 radio
stations (including 183 full-fledged stations) and has 302 transmitters (144 MW, 55 SW and 103 FM channels).
All India Radio covers 90% of the geographical area and 97.3% of
the country’s populace.
Doordarshan, state-supported television, has grown over the years as a promising broadcasting network. It has 83 HPTs, 600 LPTs, 19 VLPTs and 18 Transposers.
Doordarshan covers 72% of the geographical areas and 87% of the
country’s populace. India
has become a global leader in software industry.
India has also become one of the few advanced countries in the
field of satellite communication. India
has also achieved tremendous progress in the field of telecommunication.
The media industry in India has grown enormously and earned global
of Mass Communication and Journalism Education
the Indian sub-continent, Punjab University of Lahore was the first to
offer a journalism course. In
India, education and training in Mass Communication and Journalism is
about 60 years old. Media
education in India has not received proper recognition from the government
as well as media. In India at
present some 60 Universities, 25 agricultural universities and 100 private
institutions annually train about 2000 students in various aspects of Mass
Communication and Journalism including reporting, editing, photography,
videography, printing, designing, advertising, public relations and so on.
Especially agricultural universities are imparting training on farm
communication, extension education and development communication. Most of the universities and colleges have provided
infrastructural facilities and manpower in audio-visual communication
field also to some extent.
Mass Communication and Journalism teaching, training, research and
extension activities are not properly organized on sound footing of
resources and systematic management.
Especially the teaching of communication skills and crafts in
almost all Indian languages has been haphazard.
The Press Commissions (1954&1984) have recognized the
importance of Mass Communication and Journalism training in the country.
However, the second Press Commission headed by Justice K K Mathew
has made only a passing reference in this regard.
Sound Mass Communication and Journalism training in English and
regional languages are very essential in order to develop media systems,
professionals and activities vigorously.
the country’s mass media pattern is almost the same in all developing
countries including Southeast Asia. The
Indian universities and other institutions have expanded educational
services in accordance with the needs of the media industry.
Mass Communication and Journalism being the multi-faceted
discipline and multi-pronged profession, planned, deliberate and
specialized training in English and Indian languages is of great
significance in a developing country like ours.
There is an all round progress in the mass media system in the
country in the post independence era. Today,
Mass Communication and Journalism education is taken for granted
especially by the policy makers. Most
of the universities have not updated the syllabi in accordance with the
changing media scenario. Adequate
faculty members who are specialists in various aspects of Communication
and Journalism are not recruited because of policy constraints and
financial constraints. The
faculty members are not given adequate opportunities to develop higher
specialization, skill and competence.
In reality, fellowships, scholarships and other facilities are not
extended to the faculty members adequately in order to ensure advanced
studies, research and professional growth.
students are taught history, theory, research, extension and a broad array
of other aspects of Mass Communication and Journalism.
Educators with advanced degrees and diplomas are not available in
plenty. Those who have not
experienced the real practical problems, challenges and opportunities are
not in a position to handle the subjects judiciously.
There are sizeable number of Mass Communication and Journalism
departments in the country, which are managed by one or two teachers and
couple of part timers. This
is indeed a pathetic situation with respect to Mass Communication teaching
in the country. The private
managements have taken the teachers for granted.
They are not encouraged by these private managements to acquire
specialized knowledge and
experience. Those who are
qualified and competent professionally and otherwise are not encouraged
with judicious pay, allowances, promotions and other benefits.
practitioners and scholars often find themselves on different paths. There
are very few centers of learning where the citadel of Mass Communication
education is directed at professional competence.
Even now there is no agreement on what Mass Communication education
should be in India. The
question of whether universities should teach Mass Communication and
Journalism has not been answered decisively.
Especially the private coaching institutions are not conducting the
courses on sound agenda and grounds.
Even now there is dearth of qualified and competent teachers
especially in regard to training the students in the fields of New
Communication Technologies, Broadcasting Journalism, Film Journalism,
Advertising, Public Relations, Media Laws, Media Management and so on.
A good deal of theoretical inputs are made available instead of
adequate practically relevant components and inputs.
In the absence of practically relevant training the graduates are
found in a helpless situation when they join the media organizations.
Lack of trained teachers, infrastructural facilities and upgraded
syllabi are the major hurdles in the way of sound Mass Communication
teaching. Most of the departments are not getting latest books and
professional journals due to financial constraints. They do not have well equipped audio-visual lab, computer
lab, photo lab, close circuit television, Internet facility, departmental
library and allied facilities.
major drawback of Mass Communication and Journalism education in India is
the lack of locally relevant textbooks, professional journals and advanced
reading materials. Many
scholars have identified this glaring gap with concern.
Senior media professionals and teachers are not encouraged to
contribute their mite in this regard.
Publishers also show lukewarm interest in producing books which fit
into Indian context mainly due to marketing and sales limitations.
The government, UGC, universities and publishing houses have not
come forward to bridge this gap. There
is utter lack of locally relevant reading materials especially in Indian
languages. The libraries also
have fewer books and professional journals.
policy makers in the government, UGC, universities and other bodies have
not accorded a place of pride to Mass Communication and Journalism
education even though there are gainful employment opportunities to the
students in the modern society. Lot
of funds are made available to medical, engineering, management and other
professional courses in universities and private institutions.
Unfortunately Mass Communication and Journalism departments are
hunting for funds from several quarters. These factors are largely responsible for the sorry state of
affairs in journalism training. The less said the better about the current state of journalism education in the Indian languages. Mass Communication and Journalism training programmes in India
are not planned as an integrated development programme.
Even now universities, governments, UGC and media organizations
have not come forward to work in unison.
Many scholars have also criticized the utter callousness and
hostility on the part of media organizations in regard to journalism education in our country.
of Learning Perspective
is no consensus with respect to syllabi in this age of communication
revolution. Many scholars
have rightly felt that general instructions and classroom lectures
particularly in universities and colleges are bookish, bereft of practical
demonstration or explanation on the part of faculty.
Many have not worked in the print, audio-visual and new media
organizations. The latest techniques such as desktop printing, video display
terminals, facsimile editions, videography, photography and so on are not
fully and properly understood by the faculty, mainly due to lack of
exposure and job-oriented training facilities.
institutions have become industrial centres.
We come across information industry, knowledge industry,
entertainment industry, advertising industry and other kinds of media
industries. The expectations
of these media industries are not properly understood by our policy makers
and educationists. What is
Mass Communication and Journalism? What are the expectations of the media industry?
How to train our students? What should these students do in the media organizations?
These questions have to be answered by our policy makers and
teachers in order to facilitate need-based training and make students
worthy communicators of our times. The
purpose of Mass Communication education is more than understanding theory
and practice, though communication skill development
and communicators' capacity building are very essential.
Its purpose should go beyond these things.
Prof Dua suggests: “In fact eminent media persons should
give constant advice on updating the course content. The courses in all languages could be split into two general
areas – (i) core and (ii) general, or optionals. The core courses should include – (a) subject orientation,
(b) inter-disciplinary back ground, (c) theoretical research and field
survey, (d) basic and applied skills in all spheres of media- print, film
and broadcasting including television and video, public relations and
advertising, (e) compulsory media internship and production of
professional assignments to be judged by senior media executives.”
He has also suggested the constitution of a regulatory body called
Indian Council for Journalism / Mass Communication Education, Research and
Training on the lines of Indian Council of Medical Education, Bar Council
of India or Institute of Chartered Accountants.
This could be made responsible for standardization of course
curricular, contents of training, quality of research, monitoring job
opportunities and also collaborating with advanced Journalism /
Communication bodies in abroad.
ultimate purpose of Mass Communication training is to build a band of
conscious, committed, competitive, courageous and compassionate
professionals and nation builders. The educational institutions should contribute champions of
professionalism and public interest. The media owners should look forward to recruiting such
worthy graduates. However,
they should not be indifferent to these qualities of graduates.
It would simply mar the profession of Mass Communication and
Journalism. These aspects
need proper introspections by the policy makers in the universities and
colleges. These aspects
should be adequately covered in the syllabi at various levels of Mass
Communication and Journalism training.
The great task for Mass Communication educators is to equip their
students with a firm sense of professionalism.
Mass Communication and Journalism training institutions and
programmes should become centers of excellence where these ideals are
translated into realities.
teachers and trainees cannot confine themselves to the classroom.
The best foundation for a career in Mass Communication is in the
field setting (newsroom in print media, studio in electronic media, film
making settings in film media, computer room in software setting etc,). Practical exposure is indispensable. Otherwise, trainees remain malnourished practically and
otherwise. The media owners
can no more remain under the age-old impression that
‘Mass Communicators are born’.
They must encourage well-qualified, trained, skilled and competent
work force in order to enhance professional excellence, accountability and
Communication training programmes are not designed in tune with the
changing media trends and expectations.
The programmes lack professional depth, seriousness and quality.
The need for involvement of media professionals in the training
programmes is not felt by the policy makers.
The teachers are not deputed to media institutions in order to gain
professional skill and outlook. The
students do not get opportunities frequently to gain familiarity with the
diverse media systems and operations.
They do not personally understand the media environment along with
social, economic, political and cultural needs and aspirations due to lack
of frequent interactions. The
students are not enabled to acquire practical skills and operational
competence on regular basis during their study period.
The standard of teaching, research, extension and publication
activities is not periodically assessed in order to make necessary changes
and improvements. The critics
have termed Mass Communication training programmes as ‘hog-wash’.
professionals and policy makers do not work together toward making Mass
Communication and Journalism education purposeful.
Therefore, showing concern to the improvement of qualitative
learning methods becomes very essential in the present times. Such deliberations and resolutions through programme of this
kind would go a long way in facilitating qualitative learning methods in
Mass Communication education. In
this age of competitiveness, earnest efforts should be made toward
elevating learning methods. Inter-disciplinary
teaching, innovative multi-media programmes, collaborative exercises,
training sessions in the media organizations, periodic practical
assignments and university-industry collaboration would enrich Mass
Communication teaching in this competitive times.
Communication and Journalism education in India has made considerable
progress during the last three decades.
In reality, a majority of Mass Communication and Journalism
departments are ill equipped in terms of manpower, equipments, literature
and allied resources. By and
large, training in this sector is not imparted on the basis of sound
vision, expertise, recognition and patronage.
In particular, the vernacular Mass Communication and Journalism
education is absolutely unplanned and disorganized.
Keeping in view of the relevance of the present topic of national
seminar and the imperativeness of enhancing qualitative learning methods,
the following suggestions are made for consideration.
Communication and Journalism education should be planned as an
integrated development programme taking it to account the present
trends like globalization, liberalization and privatization. The changing media scenario should be properly understood by
the policy makers and that factors like manpower, resources,
technologies, equipments, literature, research and extensions should
be taken into account while redesigning education system in general
and enriching qualitative learning methods in particular.
of Mass Communication and Journalism training should be ensured in
order to make training in this sector absolutely result oriented.
A national level regulatory body consisting of policy makers,
scholars, specialists, professionals and bureaucrats should be set up
to streamline admission procedure, course contents, recruitment norms,
training methods and evaluation techniques. This body should be empowered to govern the process of Mass
Communication and Journalism training in the country.
Departments of Mass Communication and Journalism should be equipped
with the state of art facilities and competent manpower.
course contents should be modified in order to keep pace with changing
needs of media industry in particular and national and international
environment in general. There
should be meaningful combination of basic and applied Mass
Communication and Journalism. The
ratio of theory and practice should be 25:75 in order to enable the
students acquire necessary professional skill and competence.
There should be simultaneous teaching in the classroom and
internship in the media organizations.
should be a regular scheme of special lectures to strengthen the
process of training since all departments cannot afford to recruit and
maintain large number of specialists as trainers.
UGC, Publications Division, National Book Trust, Research and
Reference Division, Universities and other publishing houses should
produce teaching materials which fit into national and regional
teachers should also be trained very frequently in order to keep pace
with the changing needs of media industry as well as teaching
Multi-ethnicity, multi-culture and multi-language are the hallmarks
of India. The dichotomy
between rural and urban population has complicated the media scenario
further. Many courses are
offered in Mass Communication and Journalism at different levels with
different nomenclatures. They
range from certificates to doctoral programmes.
Though most of the institutions offer only English as the
instructional medium, students can write examinations in the regional
language. Even doctoral
research is encouraged in vernacular Mass Communication and Journalism.
The educational scenario depicts series of drawbacks with respect
to qualitative learning methods. Suitable
networks have to be created at local, regional and national levels to
facilitate integrated development of Mass Communication and Journalism
education in India. The
Departments of Mass Communication and Journalism will have to devote their
time, energy and resources in this direction.
Dr Mahesh Chandra Guru is
Professor & Chairman, Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Mysore. Madhura Veena M L is UGC Junior
Research Fellow in the same department.