Is there any real education in India

Study and teaching
Everyday journalistic work and training

In 2015, industry partners advised me to offer public relations as compulsory courses for undergraduate students. It was assumed that one-minute news formats, news that took less than five minutes to read and also digital, interactively told stories that took a maximum of five minutes would require experienced content writers who also work as journalists.

By Perrie Subramaniam

This major change in terms of both the role and the value of journalists in India, namely moving away from reflective reporters to becoming an ally of large corporations, has irritated many who are passively or actively involved in journalism. We should understand the consequences of such a twisted understanding of journalism if it became the norm in the progressive, well-meaning and rampant Indian society.
Journalism in India used to want to raise awareness of social issues, let neglected sections of the population actively participate again and give the disenfranchised a voice. After India gained independence in the 1950s, various family-owned newspapers represented marginalized and rural populations: The Hindu, The MalayalamManorama, Eenadu and Rajastaan ​​Patrika were the leading media that built a solid journalism that was committed to the concerns and needs of the population and thematized in the native language of the readership. These media houses committed themselves to responsible, investigative journalism in which analysis was always the central point. The educated classes of the population, but also the rural and sometimes urban social groups that contributed to a living, working, producing and flourishing India found themselves here again.

Newsroom circus based on an international model

Since the 1990s, however, journalism in India has been increasingly dominated by English-language media, especially the MNC-owned Bennett & Coleman Group (MNC), Star Network and CNBC. Above all, they want to make a profit, which is why a preference for the newsroom circus based on the international model is now rampant in India as well. Due to the predominance of the MNC media companies, the supply chain at private partner schools for journalism has also grown. These include the Symbiosis Institute Of Media & Communication (SIMC) in Pune, the Indian Institute Of Mass Communication (IIMC) in Delhi, the Amity University in Delhi and the Asian College Of Journalism (ACJ) in Chennai. 95% of the curriculum is given by these media houses. Both the infrastructure and the training in these institutes enjoy a good reputation worldwide; the schools are expensive and cater to the urban elite.
In order for a real multicultural society to emerge in India again, more media have to report in the national language again. They are something like an umbilical cord that can reconnect people with who and what India once was. With the help of these media we can restore our values ​​and systems, get the indigenous discourse going again and thus recollect our real being.

The only way we can stop the growing division in public opinion among the semi-literate Indian population is by making it clear to people how far back our roots go and why a multicultural society is so important.

Perrie Subramaniam

In addition, school teaching in the mother tongue should be actively promoted. I am convinced that we think in the language we grew up with. The majority of Indian households speak their own language, but this is only spoken in a few educational institutions. In order to better communicate with the rest of the world, English is the language in which we learn, do business, train, write and be creative.

However, there are also some state media schools that follow the motto “smaller is better”, e. For example, the Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, the School Of Journalism Hyderabad, the privately funded Azim Premji University in Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM) in Bangalore, the explicitly grassroots and community-oriented curricula in their curriculum aimed at English-speaking elite students Plan journalism, for which in turn a sound knowledge of your own mother tongue is essential.
It is thanks to the efforts of community-oriented active journalists in parts of rural India that the schools even provide such exciting offers. In North India, that's about it Khabar Lahariya, a newspaper that appears in three rural Hindi dialects, Ananda Vikatan in Tamil, Malayam Manorama in Malayalam and Lankesh Patrike in Kannada, to name a few. These locally owned media houses are part of the community and all strive to reflect the issues prevalent in the grassroots movements. At St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, we strive to align our journalistic training according to the Jesuit principle, which refers to the motto “Magis” (“more”) when practicing a profession. Our students are involved in many projects that are intended to serve the common good: They use various media, are committed to preserving the green lungs of the Mumbai National Park and collect data on workers with a migrant background and their living environment for political documentation.
In short, in the spirit of Finley Peter Dunne, we try to "comfort the suffering and plague the lazy". We hope that we can promote the appreciation of multicultural values ​​in our students and continue to primarily remain journalists who write as content writers on the side.


Perrie Subramaniam is from Tamil Nadu and is proud of her roots. As head of the Faculty of Mass Communication at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, she ensures that media studies are shaped by Jesuit values ​​and the ethos of Gandhi. She completed the postgraduate courses in philosophy, management and education.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are those of the author and do not always reflect the opinion of the editors.

Translation: Sabine Bode
Copyright: Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi; This text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License.

September 2020

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