SRINAGAR: Kashmir Media Scholars’ Society (KMSS) has demanded inclusion of journalism course at higher secondary and college level in the state.
KMSS is an amalgam of journalism pass-outs, scholars and contractual teachers of the state. Presently, journalism courses are taught at undergraduate level only in two colleges of the valley including Government Degree College Baramulla and Government Women’s College MA Road, Srinagar.
At postgraduate level, journalism course is being currently taught at University of Kashmir, Islamic University of Science and Technology, and Central University of Kashmir.
“Over the last one decade and more, media industry has witnessed unprecedented growth. Therefore, media has emerged as a viable career option for many youngsters who are eager to join the course at undergraduate level as it is offered at only two places,” said Isra Amin, a NET qualified media scholar.
“Many people question the relevance of the media course but it is more relevant than those courses whose scope a student can find only in big industries outside and not here,” she added.
Waqas Khan, a Convergent Journalism passout, said there is a dire need of including journalism course, which is a job-oriented course, in different institutions of the state.
For girls, living in and around Srinagar city aspiring to learn the craft of journalism, at least 20 of them can get admission in Government Women’s College MA Road. “But boys of the city and those living in south Kashmir have to travel all the way to Government Degree College Baramulla where again they have to compete for limited seats in the college,” said Khalid Khan, a first year student in Anantnag Degree College.
Khan cited his own example. “I wanted to join BA Journalism but keeping in view the distance that I’ll have to cover daily from Anantnag, I took a non-professional course here,” he said.
Saquib, a contractual lecturer at Government Degree College Baramulla and a member of KMS stressed on the need for inclusion of media courses in colleges and higher secondary schools of the valley. “There is a greater role of professional courses in higher education as it fetches more jobs than conventional courses,” he said.
Presently, nearly 140 students are pursuing bachelors in media studies with the help of six contractual teachers and not a single permanent faculty has been appointed by the higher education department so far.
“Everyone here in a conflict zone is concerned about quality news which a journalist can give only when he has learnt journalism at the basic higher secondary and college level, “said Zahid Maqbool, a contractual lecturer of Government Women’s College MA Road.
Presently, 50 girls are pursuing undergraduate journalism course with just four contractual teachers.
Only contractual teachers are appointed by higher education department to teach in two colleges of the valley.
“There is no stability for contractual teachers. They can be thrown out at any moment and despite a work load more than that of permanent faculty are always seen deemed as under-performing and less proficient at teaching,” said a contractual lecturer, wishing not to be named.