The country will soon have its first media university, with the government deciding to grant full-fledged university status to the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC).
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has decided to convert IIMC into a university with powers to grant degrees and conduct research in the media, a sector growing at an annual rate of about 26 per cent. A bill to this effect will be introduced in Parliament this year, a ministry official said.
To be re-named as International Media University, it will offer a wide range of courses on journalism, advertising, public relations and associated sectors at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Only a few universities like Punjab University, Chandigarh, offer postgraduate courses in journalism whereas some, like Delhi University, offer an undergraduate degree course in journalism.
Ministry officials said there is no specialised research on media in Indian universities like in Oxford. Research on media is part of the sociology discipline in India, an official said. The new university will also have a media monitoring unit.
The university will have powers to open media colleges all over the country to provide quality manpower to the growing media industry.
“In the last two years, the number of news channels has almost doubled and there are many in the pipeline. They need quality manpower, which the new university could provide,” a ministry official said. The two IIMCs — in Delhi and Dhenkanal — are considered India's best media schools.
The ministry has also decided to convert the two film institutes, the Satyajit Ray Film Institute in Kolkata and the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune into international film schools on the lines of those in Hollywood.