There is no credible report that gives you the number of media schools in India. Various educational portals contain information on 1,200 schools of mass communication and media. Together, they offer nearly 4,000 courses. So how do you choose the right media school for you?
Here are nine criteria you should use to find the right media school:
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1. Faculty: Select a school whose faculty has worked in industry. You need teachers who can teach you how to write a story, do a recap, create a mobile video story, or do a TV commercial. Those who have no media experience can make you good academics, but they cannot prepare you for the media.
2. Infrastructure: Visit the school to find out if the school has enough computers. Discuss the software used to teach media skills. Today, you can’t work in a media organization without mastering software.
3. Curriculum: Examine the curriculum carefully to verify its synchronization with today’s media demands. Check if it prepares you for new media, mobile media, social media, data journalism. Avoid schools that are not up to date with changing and emerging technology.
4. Student-Teacher Ratio: Media schools where the student-teacher ratio is greater than 1:12, lack the strength to provide competency-based education.
5. Practical work: Check if the school publishes a student newspaper. If so, how often and what types of articles do students write. Check to see if the school encourages students to make mobile videos. Likewise, you need to find out if the school teaches students to do news broadcasts.
6. Nature of the program: Is the media school managed by a university? If so, is the university recognized by the UGC? If this is a non-university program, be extra careful. Postgraduate diplomas or certificates offered by an unrecognized university may have no validity. When you join a private school, be sure to check its background.
7. Placements: No school can guarantee jobs, so beware of schools that do the same. Your skills will make people talk; therefore, the school can only arrange a job interview for you. Media is a merit-based profession and news houses are always on the lookout for candidates with the right skills.
8. Visiting Professors: Today’s media is driven by rapidly growing technology, and every news outlet faces the changes brought about by the same. However, some professors may not teach emerging media models. To address this problem, many media schools hire adjunct professors from industry or invite visiting professors on a daily basis. Be sure to verify the credentials of the invited faculty.
9. Check with alumni: Before making a decision, you should try to meet some current students or alumni of the institute for the correct answers. As the profession needs students who are able to work from day one, it is all the more important to find the right media school.
(The author is the director, Times School of Media, Bennett University)