‘Virtual manthan’ discusses significance of integrating skill-based media progs in formal education

NEW DELHI, Nov 10: A three-day online interaction programme called ‘virtual manthan’, bringing together chancellors, vice-chancellors and department heads of central and state universities around the country, organized by New Delhi-based Media & Entertainment Skills Council (MESC) got underway here on Tuesday to discuss the significance of integrating skill-based media programmes in formal education introduced in the National Education Policy (NEP)-2020, and developing easier access routes to formal media education.

Delivering the keynote address, renowned director-producer Subhash Ghai, who is also the chairman of the MESC, advocated distinguishing knowledge and information from wisdom and spirituality, and suggested incorporating the inculcation of these values even within the structure of formal education.

Lamenting that accomplishments in art in the curriculum are termed “extra-curricular” activities, he called for “internalizing of these in favour of a more ethos-based system of teaching and learning media.”

Invited panellist, Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) Vice Chancellor Prof Saket Kushwaha said the NEP “also addresses the goals of creating good human beings.” He pointed out that the emphasis has now moved from extra-curricular or co-curricular activities and this has instead become a “core curricular” activity.

Extending the fullest cooperation of RGU to the larger goal of academia-industry interface, Prof Kushwaha said that the university’s “core strengths in audio visual documentation, as well as research, will be a perfect complement to any initiatives suggested by the media industry for collaboration.”

RGU Mass Communication Head, Moji Riba lamented that “there is an inexplicable gap between the media industry and media education and questions of relevance arise on either side.” Calling for a “hybrid model of synergies” between academia and industry, Riba said “there is a need for integrating research with industry and in turn integrating communication faculty with the media.”

Emphasizing on sustained engagement as the cornerstone of the new paradigm of communication, Riba said that increasingly, communities, particularly in the peripheries, have evolving communication needs. “In this, universities can emerge as key enablers and with the collaboration with industry, create a richer communication experience.”

Central University of Allahabad VC, Prof RR Tiwari and coordinator Dr Dhananjaya Chopra charted the tremendous changes that have come about in media, particularly in the Hindi media, and gave a detailed account of how the institution was incorporating the components of skill development in the curriculum.

Pondicherry University VC, Prof Gurmeet Singh, elaborating the highlights of the NEP by calling it “India-centric,” said that the time has come for the media industry to integrate with academia and join hands to create policy and ensure its implementation.

Central University of Himachal Pradesh VC, Prof Kuldeep Chand Agnihotri said that, while the NEP has opened up spaces for innovation, “there must also be a continued link to informal education, because that’s where a rich body of traditional knowledge lies.”

Dean Prof Pradeep Nair pointed out that, by and large, Indian media education really has no connect with what is happening in the media industry. He said that “the time is appropriate for all the apex media education bodies in the country to assess their curriculum and take stock of what skills are being taught vis-à-vis what skills are needed.”

MESC CEO Mohit Soni called for grooming a new generation of master trainers and committed to collaborating on more such initiatives to take the dialogue forward.

Earlier, Whistling Woods International vice president Chaitanya Chinchlikar presented an overview of the higher and technical education in the media and entertainment industry.