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MA journalism from Cardiff University in India

Sashi Kumar, chairman of the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, talks about the tie-up with Cardiff University, UK reports Vimal Chander Joshi

education Updated: Apr 07, 2010 09:42 IST
Vimal Chander Joshi

After the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai, ties up with Cardiff University, UK, its students can get an MA degree in journalism by spending only three months in the UK varsity after their nine-month-long diploma studies.

Is the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ’s) tie-up with Cardiff University aimed to attract students who are keen to get a Master’s and not a diploma?
Well, the Cardiff connection began over three years back with an MOU which was exploratory in nature. Subsequently, a team from Cardiff University’s School of Journalism came to ACJ and “audited”, or evaluated, our postgraduate journalism education programme. It rated our course qualitat-
ively at par with its own.

You already have a tie up with BBC and now it’s Cardiff (a university in UK). Is there any specific reason for your British associations?
We once came very close to becoming part of a reputed university here and signed an MOU towards formal award of a university degree. But we were hesitant because it meant increasing the duration of our programme from one to two years. Internationally, a fast track one-year PG programme seems to work better than a longer course.

The eligibility criterion for applying for Cardiff is B grade and above. How many students out of a total of 120 get this grade every year?
This varies from year to year. But I think not more than twenty five per cent of the students would have an average B grade or above. The course is rigorous with many components and modules and a rating of B and above is commendable.

How much extra fee would the students be made to pay over an above the ACJ’s fee?
This would be decided only after a formal clearance by the Cardiff board is communicated.

As ACJ also offers scholarships, would funding options be extended for MA (journalism) too?
We haven’t formulated a scheme of scholarships for the MA extension, but may consider it.

How many students applied for the PG diploma last year? Out of them, how many sat for the entrance test? And if you could share the details, what was the number of students who were called for the interview?
From those who applied, nearly 800 young men and women sat for the entrance tests and, based on their performance, about 300 were shortlisted for interviews.

We finally admitted 180 students to the Class of 2010.

What distinguishes ACJ from other journalism colleges? Students travel from all corners to study there, is this only because of the tie up with BBC, or there are other factors too?
I think it is the substantive nature of our course. The BBC module is one among the many we offer and only the students in the TV stream, numbering forty, take it.
Of course it adds real, not just brand, value. Overall, we combine the ‘why’ and reflective aspect of journalism with the ‘how to’ or skills aspect of it.

The faculty works towards achieving a definite and verifiable learning curve.

Do you have any plans to run a two-year Master’s programme or are you toying with the idea of setting up a campus somewhere in north India?
Yes, we have considered both options, but haven’t decided on either of them.

What is the last date to apply?
The last date for completed applications for admission to the Class of 2011 to reach ACJ is April 30, 2010.

As told to Vimal Chander Joshi