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Weapon of mass communication

A degree in journalism will stand you in good stead, provided you choose the institute carefully.

india Updated: Jul 03, 2006 03:30 IST

Perhaps it’s time to contemplate a journalism rehab centre. Thanks to 24X7 television, there is a media institute in almost every corner of the city who promise anything and everything to meet the so called “rising demand for journalists”.

But do degrees in mass communication and journalism give you an edge over others? They do. At least what the students queuing up outside journalism institutes believe. It’s in vogue and everyone wants to cash in on the trend. But most of these institutes offer more style than substance. Eventually it’s the student who suffers.

At the Indraprastha University, there are seven self-financing affiliated institutes -- Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies (VIPS), Madhubala Institute of Communication and Electronic Media, Kathuri Ram College of Higher Education, Lalitha Devi Institute of Management and Sciences, Gitaratan International Business School, Tecnica Institute of Advanced Studies and JICD -- that take a total of 435 students. The fee ranges from Rs 42,000 to Rs 54,000 per year and the course module includes print media, electronic media, public relations, advertising and filmmaking.

The students are required to do compulsory internship during their course of study but many allege that institutes are rarely of any help.

“Though we study in English, we  are offered internship oppurtunities in vernacular dailies by the institute. As a result we are left with no choice but to find internships on our own,” said a student of JICD on condition of anonymity. 

“During the orientation, we were promised internships and placements. But only a handful from a batch of 60 students have been placed by the institute,” he adds.

The institute on its part maintain that they offer placements to as many as 90 per cent of the students. “Though we provide placements to most students it is not our responsibility to ensure 100 per cent placement,” said Prof Om Gupta, dean, JICD.

Besides finding internships, incompetent faculty and poorly developed infrastructure too seems to be a problem with these institutes.

Many students complain that the permanent faculty have no experience and they survive on guest lectures. “Often the faculty is not up to the mark and we try to get them changed,” says a second year student of Tecnia.

The end result is that quality of education suffers and the industry is faced with mediocrity. “There are only 20 per cent who are competent enough to be absorbed across the board. Around 50 per cent are mediocre and 30 per cent are just here for fun. Despite this, we try to provide all of them placements,” affirmed Prof Gupta.   

The IP University on its part states that institutes are run under strict guidelines and any institute flouting the rule is derecognised.

“We haven’t come across any complaints so far. If students are facing any problem with respect to faculty or labs they should complain to the University and we will take the necessary action,” said Prof K Kannan, dean, students welfare, IP University.