For Supraket Meshram, 20, a mass media student at Wilson College, an industrial visit to the mountainous terrain of Nepal will always remain special. Not only was it his first foreign trip; but also gave him his first breakthrough in international politics.
“We interacted with diplomats and dignitaries from Bhutan and Nepal at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation headquarters in Kathmandu,” said Meshram, who along with his classmates crossed the Indian border as part of their college’s first international industrial visit in January.
“Over the years, we have travelled through the rural districts of Vidarbha, the sensitive pockets of Srinagar, the picturesque locales at Sikkim among other areas, where we have ensured that the students get to learn beyond the confines of the classroom,” said Sudhakar Solomonraj, coordinator of the Bachelor of Mass Media course at Wilson College. “It is a form of de-schooling.”
The mass media and management departments of colleges organise annual outstation ‘industrial visits’ for budding journalists and management executives, as part of their curriculum.
Students of GN Khalsa College also tour the nation during their three-year course. “The idea of taking students to outdoor locales is to ensure that they get a taste of the local culture and flavours,” said Pravesh Vishwanathan, the BMM and BMS coordinator. “Regional media is often disregarded by students, and it is this stereotype that we break by organising such trips,” he said adding that the media students had visited regional newspaper offices in Jaipur, Hyderabad and Noida.
For Nikita Khanna, 21, an aspiring copywriter, these visits provide a welcome relief from the lecture-packed schedule. “More than often, only having classroom lectures could become extremely theoretical, bordering on boredom,” said Khanna. “These tours, ensure that we got to see how the industry works, as against what our textbooks preach.”
Some course coordinators said that the industrial visits are that time of the academic year, when all the students are present for the attendance roll call. “These out-of-town visits ensure that they are cut-off from all distractions, letting their curiosity take over in these ‘intellectual picnics’,” said Madhuri Raijada, BMM coordinator, St Xavier’s College.
In January, first year mass media students of Siddharth College, Fort, protested against college authorities who were allegedly forcing students to sign up for a 15-day industrial visit to Nepal. “The amount charged was way beyond their means,” said a student, requesting anonymity.