Saturday, 9 February 2013

Seven Decades of Indian Journalism Education

Seven Decades of Indian Journalism Education

S N Pattnaik

The information and communication revolution in India has been identified as the new pathway to national development. A phenomenal expansion of information and communication infrastructure with citizens’ desire to access information, from every possible source, for furthering their socio-economic, political and development-oriented initiatives, have paved the way for growth and development of journalism and mass communication as a subject of profession. As India developed economically and gained importance its place among the emerging nations, the need of journalism education began to be realised by media in particular and academic world in general. Journalism in India has undergone radical changes since economic restructuring initiated in 1991. Keeping pace with the profession, the educational standard of journalism and mass communication has also grown extensively.
In India, the birth of journalism education dates back to 1941 in Lahore’s Punjab University (now in Pakistan) by late Prof. P.P. Singh, as an evening part-time one-year diploma in journalism course, functioned there in a somewhat uncertain permanent state. While, India’s partition was a setback to its progress, but the department of journalism in Lahore moved after seven years to New Delhi in 1948 (Dua, 2009). Since then this profession has seen steady progress. In January 1948, the University of Calcutta introduced journalism a subject in its academic curriculum. Immediately after, journalism courses started in Osmania University (Andhra Pradesh) and Nagpur University (Maharastra). In earlier days of journalism education, several Indian students who had gone to foreign countries for higher studies in journalism, on their return to India suggested curriculum revisions (Dua, 2001). The subject has travelled its long journey facing innumerable trials and tribulations. During 1960s and 1970s several Indian universities started courses in journalism and the recognition of the course at the university level underwent drastically. Some American Universities also offered collaboration for advancement of journalism programmes to their Indian counterparts. Osmania University and Nagpur University were the examples (Dua, 2001).
The establishment of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) at New Delhi with the support of UNESCO in 1965 has landmarked media and communication education in the country. Now, the education has completed 70 years of its birth. During this period, the number of educational institutions providing journalism education has grown manifold in terms of quantity, quality and students enrolment. A gradual change from professional to academic-oriented and western pattern to Indianised system in the education curriculum are some of the glorious symbols of achievements of the Indian journalism and mass communication education.
Presently, about 300 journalism and mass communication departments in various Indian universities (including some private and deemed universities) are engaged in providing post-graduate diploma, degree, MPhil, doctoral, and post-doctoral programmes. Besides, over half-a-thousand institutions are offering diploma and certificate programmes in various branches of journalism and mass communication. Another development in the past one decade has been the growth of the colleges offering undergraduate courses at various private and public academic institutions. They are being offered self-financed vocational courses. All these have changed the entire orientation of the courses towards making journalism more skill course rather than one with a theoretical base. At the present, more than 20,000 students pass out from these universities and institutions with diverse specialisation in print, electronic, public relations, advertising, film, media management, media law and ethics, etc.  
The rapid development scenario in the field of journalism emphasises the importance of journalism and mass communication education and appropriate training of journalists (including broadcasters and social communicators), duly integrated with national development objectives incorporating social orientation. This education has been marked by a growing sense of professionalism, mainly due to four major factors. These are:
  • an increasing organisation of working journalists;
  • specialised education in journalism;
  • a growing body of literature dealing with history, problems and techniques of mass communication; and
  • an increasing sense of social responsibility on the part of journalists. Idealistic motives have also contributed a lot to the development of modern Indian journalism.

In this paper, the author systematically analyze the growth and current status of mass media environment and how the growth has supplemented the development of Indian journalism education standard in India. Besides, the paper also discussed the pattern of Indian journalism education, prospects and problems prevailing in the system and suggested some purposeful layouts for appropriate growth of mass media education in the country in the global competitive media environment.

Boom in Indian Media Market
The beginning of Indian economic liberalization in 1991 and opening up the gateway for foreign investment, particularly in information technology (IT) and communication sectors have resulted manifold growth in both the areas and revolutionised the information transmission, distribution and information consumption behaviour of the people. The introduction of foreign media channels and setting up of private media channels has widened the scope and opportunity for journalism and communication professionals. Similarly, each year at least half a dozen thousand students enter the profession and get absorbed in newspaper industry, news agencies, radio and television organisations, and other government and private organisations in the information and public relations jobs. Furthermore, the revolution in electronic media and IT and spurt in both regional and national streams of the print media have also contributed to better training of communication professionals, turning them into excellent social communicators and responsible journalists.
The growing literacy and the improvement in the lifestyle of the people of India are partially considered as the media’s contribution in disguise. Since Independence, the media, particularly the press, has been growing constantly. There were 3,330 newspapers and periodicals published at the time of Independence; this number rose to 82,237 in 2010-11, i.e., above twenty-five times in 62 years. Today, India ranks among the top five newspaper production countries in the world. In 2010-11, the total circulation of Indian press (a combined total of all 96 languages) stood at 32,92,04,841 copies (Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI), 2011). The availability of a large number of dailies/weeklies provides the reader a variety of options and choices. Scope and opportunity for press practitioners in urban sector is quite encouraging than the rural sector because maximum press establishments are located in large cities and towns and a low rate readership in rural areas.
With the dawn on the 21st century, setting aside all debates on the issue, in the mid-phase of 2002, the Indian press has entered the liberalisation phase with government’s decision to open up for the print media to foreign direct investment (FDI). This landmark decision, pertaining to the Indian press, is a measure of India’s growing confidence. Initially, foreign direct investment up to 26 per cent was allowed in news and current affairs publications including business publications while up to 74 per cent in technical, medical and other specialized journals. Later, the government has decided to raise the limit of FDI from 26 per cent to 49 per cent in news and current affairs publications.
In recent years, the information and broadcasting sector has been also undertaking major changes mainly due to technological developments. Use of IT and computers has revolutionized profoundly the collection and dissemination of news and information and broadcasting of entertainment programmes. Presently, about 99.1 per cent of the country’s population and 91.2 per cent of the country’s geographical area is within the reach of radio broadcasting. The number of radio broadcasting stations has risen from just 6 at the time of Independence to 231 at present and by the completion of this current Plan period some more stations will become operational. In rural sector the radio still has good audience, whereas in urban sector, the audience is gradually declining, with the exception of FM listeners in cities and metros. The gradual decline of this, once all important media, has evoked strong response from the concerned agencies. The government has now installed more than one FM channel in several metro cities and is planning to install at least one in some other areas. Recently, the government has approved increasing the FDI limit in FM sector from 20 to 26 per cent. As on March 2011, there were 245 private radio stations and 108 community radio stations were operational.
Utilisation of technological developments for citizen’s benefit and to gain more popularity of radio broadcasting in non-urban sectors, the government has initiated several steps among one such is community radio and expansion of Phase-III of FM broadcasting. Likewise, the medium wave programmes are also being made more popular than before. India has crossed the 100 million mark for pay-TV subscribers, representing more than 70 per cent of TV house holds. According to India Digital TV Forecast report, there is still plenty of growth to come with 139 million pay-TV subscribers forecast for 2016. The number of TV homes in India grew from 120 million in 2007 to 148 million in 2011. Cable reaches 94 million homes with 88 million analog connections and 6 million digital ones, while DTH has commanded 41 million subscribers. As per a recent report from Paris-based international research and analysis firm Euroconsult, the satellite pay-TV industry India and some other emerging markets will help the satellite pay-TV industry attain annual global revenue of USD 150 billion by 2021, from close to USD 90 billion in 2011. The report further noted that ‘Asia has become the leading region in terms of subscriptions thanks to the booming Indian market.’ Euroconsult said an expected 77 per cent of worldwide pay TV subscribers could be located in emerging regions (including India, Brazil and Russia) by 2021, as against 60 per cent in 2011. The Indian television (Doordarshan) through its network of 1,415 terrestrial transmitters reaches over 92 per cent of the country’s population and the entire country is also covered by Doordarshan DTH service. A wide network of private and government television companies in India have established enormous opportunities for journalistic and artistic professionals to explore their capabilities.
The cable television was introduced in Indian subcontinent two decades ago. Its rapid spread in both urban and rural areas has widened the audience, who now has more options and choices to view different channels and programmes. In our country, more than 1,00,000 cable operators are doing good business in information and entertainment, which has emerged as a major industry and also as a major cultural force. India is looked upon as an alluring market for broadcasters. Some 550 or more private and foreign satellite channels, ranging from small Tamil language channels in southern India to international channels like CNN, CNBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Times, BBC, IBN broadcasting etc. are now vying to reach Indian viewers. According to Pioneer InvestCorp, the Indian cable industry is worth 270 billion rupees and is the third largest in the world after television in People’s Republic of China and television in United States.
Today, among the major Asian industrialised countries, India has abundant technically-skilled manpower and is significantly contributing this skilled manpower towards global IT development. The computer, communication and control, commonly called 3Cs, are going to drive the country’s economy and overall development in rapid manner achieving the desired growth in only a decade compared to the growth achieved by it during the past five decades or more. IT is the fastest growing industrial segment in India and has had an impact on almost every field of activity in recent years. During the last decade, the IT sector in our country registered an unprecedented growth. The hyperbole of internet and World Wide Web (WWW) is gradually changing Indians’ living, talking and interacting behaviour and is expected to change some of the fundamental features of the way we operate. The major areas of this revolution, such as broadcasting, telecommunication, media, military, computers and contents, etc have shown high growth of penetration in the country only during the last decade. India is one of the fastest growing PC market and internet usages in the Asia-Pacific region. Personal computer (PC) in India is estimated to have crossed 52 million units as of the end of 2010. The current installed base of personal computer translates into one computer for every 25 Indians, doubling the per capita PC availability in just four years. It may be recalled that at the end of 2006 there was approximately one computer for every 50 Indians.
The growth of PC market combined with infrastructural developments in telecommunication sector has accelerated the internet penetration faster in India. According to a study by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB‘s recent findings, with increasing affordability of PCs and internet penetration, India is has 121 million  internet users in December 2011. Out of 121 million, 97 million are expected to be active internet users. With this internet use in India is expected to enter a critical period of growth with the possibility of becoming the largest internet using country in the world in this decade. The Indians have witnessed the revolution in information and communication sectors and a qualitative transformation in social, economic and political sectors, mainly as a result of free flow of information and sharing of knowledge. Already, India has crossed the initial decades of IT revolution; the present decade is the most challenging for both the government and IT industry to provide cost-effective services of information highway, the internet, for the citizens to support and enable their prosperity, growth, challenge, and opportunities in domestic sectors.
To meet such an upsurge in media, more professional and skill-oriented persons are required. Also, these professionals need to be competent enough in their relevant fields. A professional degree holder can be of an added advantage in this scenario, giving an opportunity to the industry to exploit his capabilities in the competitive online journalism/media market. Besides, the range of work of a journalist demands different talents and temperaments, but all who aspires to adopt journalism requires some basic skills and attitudes such as wide ranging interests, overall social awareness, an inquiring mind, punctuality, willingness to work hard, an initiative mind to understand the unspoken words, and also to read between the lines to perceive that is not directly revealed.

Journalism Education System
Though Indian journalism and mass communication education is seven decades old, but it has yet to take an appropriate shape. In earlier days, journalism education meant only imparting skills and crafts in reporting, editing and newspaper production. After being neglected for a long time, journalism and mass communication courses in India are witnessing a lot of demand from students on pursuing their careers in media. Media education has now steadily assumed need-oriented, field-based, scientific-tested role reflecting dynamic modern needs, trends and varied testes of consumer and clients (Dua, 2009). The boom in private television channels and broadcasting organizations fuel the demand for this education.
The journalism education is recognised as professional education, usually referred to by different nomenclatures, viz., journalism, mass communication, advertising, public relations, and media studies depending on the emphasis on different aspects. One important aspect of these courses is that the students undergo rigorous training in the skills required for the profession. Over half of the total Indian university departments offering journalism courses are providing one-year diploma only and nearly one-fifth are providing bachelor’s degree under varied course titles as Bachelor of Journalism, Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication, Bachelor of Mass Communication, Bachelor of Mass Communication and Journalism, and the masters programme as Master in Journalism and Mass Communication, Master in Communication. and Journalism, MA (Communication), Master in Science Communication (MSC), and MScC (Agricultural Communication). A few universities are offering full-time MPhil and doctoral programmes.
The syllabus of journalism studies taught at university level is varied, and in the recent past, advanced topics like broadcast communication, rural communication, agricultural communication, science communication and some special modules have been included in the course patterns. The growing number of science magazines and the attention paid to science by both the print and the broadcast media have resulted in the institution of programmes on science communication at the post-graduate level. Some universities like Berhampur University, Odisha, have also introduced journalism as a subject in pre-university degree level pass and honours programmes. Considering a growing relationship among industry, management, money/share market, and media, a new class of journalism, i.e., business journalism has taken birth.
A number of media houses also train some of their journalists/desk writers by selecting potential students with necessary skills and putting them through journalism training workshops and on-the-job training ‘intern’ programmes. Such media houses believe that it builds employee loyalty and increases long-term employee retention rates while also proving cost-efficient. The Times Research Institute and Eenadu School of Journalism are the institutions that are the best examples (Muppidi, 2008). A few institutes like the Delhi-based Times Centre for Media Studies, Symbosis Institute of Management, etc. used to offer a course in business journalism to MBAs, CAs, post-graduates with good degrees in economics, commerce, marketing, social science, and having talent for writing.

Hurdles in the Education
The medium of Indian journalism and mass communication education is mainly English. A limited institutes and universities are offering diploma and degree courses in Hindi and other Indian vernacular languages. Except a very few, the universities and institutes offering courses in vernacular languages are limited to diploma level, but Hindi is an exception to this category. If one opts for higher education, there is no alternative to considering English as the only medium of education, which prevents many regional language media professionals from acquiring higher media education. It is a believe that the other regional language education is hardly considered fruitful for this profession despite the fact that language press (e.g., Malayala Manorama, Gujurat Samachar, Dainik Bhaskar) has outnumbered the English press in terms of circulation and readership and has entered a new phase of development.
In India, the universities are mostly located in metros/cities and the journalism and communication courses offered by them do not emphasize on education or training necessary for a student to be a rural communicator. Also, most of the students, after completion of the course and because of aptitude and appropriate training for working as a communicator in urban areas, prefer placement in cities and towns where mass media establishments are located. The lack of rural communication-oriented education and training methods in journalism schools, and limited opportunities for rural communication practitioners have prevented them from making their profession as a social engineer in the society.
A common problem in a majority of journalism schools is the absence of full-time faculty. Even where full-time faculty exists in some of the journalism departments at university level, part-time teachers are still hired from the media organisations. The part-time teachers may be good in their field especially in practical aspects, but many-a-time it is found that they are not well conversant with theoretical aspects. This lacuna damages the interest of the students in the subject, as they are not exposed to the subject in appropriate way. Though, sometimes, even the high ranking full-time teachers also lack practical experience and they only depend on books and study material for their lectures. In India, communication educators prefer serving media industry to teaching profession mainly because the industry is a good paymaster. There is thus an urgent need for good, competent and inspired full-time faculty, having both theoretical and practical knowledge, to avoid most serious communication education problems the country is facing today.
As per the practice, most of the journalism and mass communication schools in India aim at producing students who could later be absorbed in the country’s media establishments. The job requirements in the media establishments require the entrants to have some practical experience. The state of regional language media education has been inviting criticism from professionals and media establishments for several reasons. The media organisations also do not pay enough attention towards the growth of journalism education and find out ways to improve the existing situation. With the exception of a limited number of schools like the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, most of the journalism schools in India do not have proper facilities for training the students. The degree holders with inadequate training from journalism schools invite criticism from various quarters, which continues to mount. A majority of journalism departments in universities find it difficult to bring out a laboratory journal even once a year. Similar scenario also exists in the case of audio-visual media training centers. The rapidly changing situation in the development of the communication and the insufficient professional competency of pass out students and their fitness to work on the state-of-the art technical equipment is posing a great challenge in media sector. 
In India country, the journalism and mass communication research is still premature despite several studies. These include: media’s participation in electoral process, media consumption behaviour of people, media’s impact on social, political, and cultural behaviour of people, etc. The main problem behind mass communication research in India is unavailability of literature for research survey. The UGC report on the Status of Journalism and Mass Communication Education in India rightly pointed out, ‘Communication research is an absolutely virgin field in Indian universities. It is more true in the case of university departments which cater mainly to the needs of the language press.’ Actually, the press itself should take the initiative and start research, in collaboration with university departments to overcome these general defencies.
Besides all these above factors, the another major one is the near absence of library facilities for students. Due to insufficient financial support from the university, the department unable to meet the requirements of the students to access to valuable books which are essential for up-to-date knowledge on modern communication methods. Old and western concept books are inappropriate for the present curriculum. This also results in the loss of enthusiasm among the students. 

Redefining Course Curricula
Though the course curriculum of Indian journalism and mass communication education taught at various university levels have been changed significantly from western-oriented to Indian pattern but still much efforts be needed to improve in this regard. Western methods of research and use of their books are still prevailing in our present education curriculum.  It is a discouraging trend in Indian journalism. There is a strong need for a new curriculum-based on the philosophy of Indian culture, practices and values. The communication courses should be aimed at creating consciousness within communications circle. Development of skills and value-oriented syllabi and alternative teaching materials should be given high priority in the journalism and communication courses in Indian context.
Also, there is a need to follow a selective course structure as recommended by UGC by all university journalism departments. Research-oriented subjects should be introduced in the course pattern, with subject specialisation like rural, agricultural, science, political, broadcast and electronic communication. The journalism departments should take an advantage of the UGC projects in various fields and appoint the researchers. This may on one hand raise the employment opportunities and on the other help the students to acquire relevant practical knowledge. The faculty members should also take special interest in the field of research, publication of the research results and programmes for audio-visual media. All this can help explore ways by which an effective and participatory communication process be set up at different levels.
As already stated most of the students aspire to work in metros in print and electronic media and show very little interest in rural and agricultural communication, though the latter has wider career opportunities. Each year, even less than one per cent of pass-outs engage themselves in interpersonal and culture-based communication. This is due to the lower weightage assigned to these areas at the study level. Though the course content contains topics on rural forms of mass communication, the lack of interest on the part of the teachers adversely affects the enthusiasm among the students.
There is a strong need for inclusion of training in the curricula to ensure relevance of the programme to the students in acquiring adequate levels of professional skills, with increased emphasis on social, political and economic aspects. This calls for a change in the education methods, in cooperation with various other departments like psychology, anthropology, and sociology. This will help in focussing attention on the purpose of a value-oriented journalism education.

Career Opportunities
Today’s big business is keeping people informed and entertained. India is becoming an important entertainment and information hub in Asian subcontinent. It is not just in television broadcasting that India is attracting foreign investors but also the popularly of Hollywood movies has increased multifold as their dubbed versions have found a bigger market in India. Channels like Discovery and National Geographic are devoting prime-time to the programmes dubbed in Hindi. Discovery has uncovered the Indian hunger for infotainment. Round the clock Indian news channels from Star News, Zee News, CNN-IBN, Times Now, News 24, India TV, BBC, CNN, etc. have opened up a big market for media professionals to provide more authentic and value-oriented Indian news and current affairs programmes.
There is also a huge swell in entertainment channels in India.  Entertainment appears to be the fastest growing area. There are more cartoons, music video, soap operas, etc. than ever before. Satellite broadcasting and cable television has opened up enormous opportunities for TV producers of software. On the technical front this has also resulted in the mushrooming of video studios with sophisticated equipment providing a range of services, and consequently providing career opportunities for those with technical training in this field. There is, therefore, an ongoing demand for radio, audio and video announcers, anchors, performers, singers, directors, producers, news readers/anchors, television journalists, photographers, cinematographers, art directors; set designers, costume/fashion designers, etc. for the umpteen television channels. Other jobs in this field include audio/video music recording, specialisations in sound and/or lighting for live and recorded programmes, design, manufacture and sales of hardware and software for entertainment, production of advertising commercials as well as areas such as interactive videos and teleconferencing (Albuquerque).
In almost all its diversified fields, journalism education has a wide scope and plenty of career opportunities in our country. Rising trend of internet communication and online publishing in India has widened the scope for the journalism professionals. Web designers, creative technical writers, online editors are now in much more demand and employment opportunities are more then ever before. Seeing this potential emerging growth sector and the opportunities thereby, several universities and institutes have now started offering courses on software journalism. It is also being noticed that several computer teaching institutes have now started offering an additional course on technical writing to the software candidates which often led the professionals to establish their career in the field of technical writing, web editing, internet publishing, etc.
Global news is also transforming itself as a necessity. Since having their own people covering the globe is expensive, television channels are regularly exploring links with the local broadcasters, finding out if they can have reliable people locally. There are also some foreign radio stations like the BBC and Voice of America which have their representative officers in India, mainly for news, and employ newsreaders from time to time. There is in this search a huge opportunity for trained professionals to explore. Besides, the trained professionals can find jobs in government departments of All India Radio, Doordarshan and other allied sectors of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting through Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Staff Selection Commission (SSC) selection.

Measures in Improving of Journalism Education
1.      The present course pattern of journalism and communication should be made more interesting by providing sufficient exposure to the advanced technological innovations like computers, satellite, laser, informatics, and electronic delivery systems, so that the students may acquaint themselves with the nature of work in an ever-changing modern communication industry.
2.      The internship training programme of about two months in the present course pattern at diploma/degree level is not sufficient. To gain practical knowledge in developing skills of a minimum standard, the training programme period should range from three to six months.
3.      Relevance of social communication and the role of social communicator in the society should be given high priority, keeping in view its importance in a developing nation like India.
4.      University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines with regard to recruitment of teachers in journalism and communication should be reviewed. Besides, the present lectureship test clearance, a minimum of one year experience in a media house with some research-oriented work should be included as essential qualifications for recruitment of journalism and communication teachers.
5.      The western style and model of communication still being followed should be discouraged. The media teachers, social thinkers, and communication planners should prepare guidelines for journalism/communication education rooted in Indian culture. The UGC should support these efforts by preparing a syllabi common for all university journalism departments. The syllabi must give due attention to the regional and local journalism practices and communication methods.
6.      The insufficient infrastructure in journalism departments affects the efficiency and standard of the students. There should be a minimum basic infrastructure for providing effective training leading to the development of skills, before introducing the programme. The UGC should also encourage those departments who have taken initiative on their own without getting any assistance from either government or UGC.
7.      MPhil and doctoral programmes in journalism should be initiated at the universities to provide the students an opportunity for higher studies. This will help in the development of this field through research and development.
8.      Media research centres should be opened in select universities so that the researchers get employment opportunities. This will also help the students gain in-depth knowledge and integrating ability to various frameworks of communication process.
9.      The practical classes of journalism do not attract students for many reasons. To remedy this, the department must subscribe to some news agency, and skilled teachers should guide the students in editing and rewriting aspects of an agency copy. The department should install desktop publishing system and encourage the students to prepare their own laboratory journals, bulletins, etc. TV camera, VCR and tape-recorder are essential practical equipment for a student who takes the audio-visual subject as a specialization. Good knowledge in handling and practical applications of these instruments is highly desirable. The university and UGC should provide necessary equipment to all the journalism departments where audio-visual courses are offered.
10.  The necessities of language media education must be reorganised in view of the growing figure of vernacular press and readers’ acceptance to this press, as it shapes their public opinion, provide large information, and generate awareness. The universities that are providing the education should concentrate more on development of vernacular language education methods and to improve the professional skills of the media practitioners. Reformative measures are needed in shifting the emphasis from English to vernacular language-oriented programmes, though a comprehensive measure is highly desirable.
11.  A full-fledged course curriculum based on software/web journalism, technical writing, functions and uses of internet, web designing, and other allied areas should be appropriately adopted in the study curricula of all university journalism education system. This will help the professionals to get acquainted with the practical training before their to employment.
12.  Library facilities are generally poor in all university journalism departments. To overcome this problem, UGC and university should grant more financial assistance for library development, on priority basis.
13.  Besides providing the usual education practice, the university and UGC should conduct short-term correspondence and refresher courses for media persons and teachers to enable them to improve their ability in correlating the learning and its application in the workplace.
14.  To meet emerging challenges in journalism education, UGC and universities should take immediate steps to fill up the posts laying vacant for several years.
15.  Special attention should be given by the journalism and communication departments to create employment opportunities for their products, as various management departments do. In this regard, the department should keep constant, live contact with media organisations and advertising and public relations agencies. Appropriate information regarding the scope and future prospects in various areas would enable the students to choose their lines as appropriately suited to them.
16.  New media organisations and institutions of journalism education must initiate on the state of the research on media and publish the findings, leading to a body of original work in this field.
17.  In the age of globalization of media, a rounded media education be made part of the academic curriculum at the high school level, so that the youth of the country develop a critical awareness and perspective relating to news media and their role in the society.
18.  University journalism departments and media institutions should approach working journalists and editors of newspapers and broadcasting channels, other professional associations and media industry bodies to enhance and intensify their interactions with students and researchers, discussions on media impact and other cooperative activities.    
19.  The recent decision of the government to constitute a task force to check the mushrooming growth of unregulated media institutes which charge exorbitant fees but provide sub-standard education is a welcome step. This step would suggest measures to strengthen the media education and regulatory framework.
It is well considered that the media has an important role to play in minimising general deficiencies in our system of journalism and mass communication education. This requires a planned study, action and interchange of ideas among education systems and media organisations. As change is essentially a process at all levels, certain specific task-oriented proposals, agendas, and finally action frameworks be planned in a broad network to meet the challenges for the present and the future. If the planned framework does not meet the objectives, there is a chance of degradation of the journalism education. This ultimately will have an adverse affect on the quality of the media industry.
The present media boom in Indian market is a challenge to the efficiency and exposure of the trained journalistic products. Also, it is important for the trained products to preserve the culture and values. The role of journalists in social development in the upsurging media market needs to be evaluated urgently. To achieve social goals, both-the role of the communication media and our system of communication education are equally important. There is also a need to reconstitute the present journalism and mass communication syllabus curriculum emphasising more on IT and its relevance to information age and allied areas. There should be a target by all of us who are more or less associated with the mass communication and journalism education and research activities in India to bring this a status equivalent with that of the other programmes in this seventy-one birth year. It is an opportunity and a challenge for Indian journalism and communication professionals to participate in global revolution in information systems and technological order and to leapfrog into the future if we can establish a strong action and result-oriented communication education and research system.

  1. Dua, M.R. (2009). Begging for an honorable space. Media Mimasa, Oct-Dec 2009, 57-62.
  2. Muppidi, S.R. (2008). Journalism education in India. Retrived on 14.01.2012 from
  3. Pattnaik, S.N (2002). Sixty Years of Journalism Education—Prospects and problems, Mass Media-2002, New Delhi : Ministry of I&B.
  4. University Grants Commission (2001). Report of the curriculum development committee on mass communication for Indian universities. New Delhi.
    (M.R. Dua was the nodal person of the committee. Some of his viewpoints have been considered by the authors in the article)
About the Author

Dr. S N Pattnaik is Editor (News) in the News Services Division of All India Radio, New Delhi, India. He has more than two decades of experience in media and mass communication. He holds PhD and D.Litt degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. E-mail: