Media education has undergone tremendous changes in title and type of courses available, in an attempt to satisfy the need of the industry in the last decade. Today, there is a variety of technical and creative media courses in print, online, multimedia, etc. – at different levels in both, higher education and skill development system. But the matter of concern is that in the quest to fill the gap as soon as possible and as much as possible, the industry has attracted a lot of misfit talent.
Speaking at the CMS Academy’s symposium on ‘News Media Education in India’, Anurag Batra, Chairman, exchange4media said, “In the recent past, quality of people coming to media industry has steeply deteriorated.”
The speakers present at symposium gathered to discuss the challenges faced by media industry and media education in particular, resonated on the issue of quality of talent joining the industry. Anuradha Prasad, CMD, BAG Network commented on the same saying, “There is attraction for glamour but not expertise and exposure among media students.”
Highlighting the importance of news media in India during the inaugural session, PN Vasanti, Director, CMS said, “News media plays critical role in setting the agenda of public and policy discourse in our country, where development deficit is on rise.” Terming the growth of media industry as ‘inorganic’, Vasanti added, “The exponential and inorganic growth of news media increased chaos not the quality of discourse in the society, which has resulted in fall in standards and professionalism required for its effective functioning.”
The rapid mushrooming of media institutes in the country has resulted in a serious shortage of faculty and quality education. Consequently, media market is flooded by professionals who are generalists and need further training to deliver quality work. “There have to be domain specialists, and the business model of media needs a change. With that, the quality of content and salaries of media professionals will go up,” Batra added.
The changing technology in this sector is constantly redefining the entire system of delivery of messages through various media. For instance, with developing internet and mobile technology, students need to be taught how to design content that can be used across media. Obaid Siddiqui, Director, AJK MCRC said, “Content analysis and research should be developed, whereas Bachelors courses in media are no more relevant.”
The requirement produced by the industry is only going to become large looking at the age of multiplicity, and simultaneously, to maintain the difference between information and journalism is a must. It is estimated that India has over 200 media institutes today from around 25 in the early 1980s. However, there is no separate government body like BCI for law education, MCI for medical education, AICTE for technical education, etc; to regulate media education; hence, it is not surprising that it is suffering from a list of quality and standardisation issues.