A job in media
Daniyal Ali Khan
The media has become one of the largest and fastest growing industries in Pakistan. Gone are the days when parents were reluctant to let their children acquire degrees in the field of arts and communication. Today, we are more tolerant as a society towards the arts, so much so that the Higher Education Commission (HEC) is offering full scholarships to those interested in studying film and television abroad. Students who wish to study in Pakistan end up paying hefty tuition fees for a four-year programme. And it is sad that after graduating, particularly with a degree in media production, students are left to their own devices. The industry is not absorbing this young, fresh blood as it operates on an ad hoc basis where merit is not the criteria. Where do students go from here? Parents spend their hard-earned money on tuition fees but students do not see a promising future, at least not in Pakistan. They are not equipped to cope with industry standards and “professionalism”. This is perhaps because the media is a relatively new phenomena in Pakistan and lacks the academic, infrastructure and facilities required for learning the craft. There is not much hands-on training or practical courses because of lack of sufficient equipment and qualified faculty.
It is hoped that the HEC will constitute a committee headed by academicians and media representatives to oversee, monitor and enforce strict by-laws for setting up media programmes, departments and schools in Pakistan ensuring quality education in addition to proper state-of-the-art infrastructure and modern facilities to stay at par with industry standards and professional media and film schools around the world. The committee must also ensure focused programmes in media arts and education whether it is film, video, television or digital media whilst students should be taught the basic skills of all these subjects to make them well-rounded and increase their demand in the job market.
Universities must offer comprehensive courses in the chosen discipline such as cinematography, editing, producing and screenwriting and the faculty must be highly qualified. Classes must follow a structured methodology, including acquiring text books which are not available in Pakistan. Audio-visual libraries with sufficient textbooks and DVDs should be set up for students to have access to latest literature in the various disciplines.
Accredited universities must expand their facilities in building studios, libraries and industry standard equipment enabling students to get individual hands-on professional training. Job opportunities may also be created at university level for fresh graduates by helping them gain sufficient practical know-how and experience before they enter the industry. Universities offering in-house and on-the-job training to students must also offer minimum stipend and be able to create jobs through recruitment centres to further ensure a smooth transition to professional jobs in the industry. This will facilitate the gap between institutions and the industry. To ensure such high standards in a professional environment it is imperative to inculcate strong work ethics for students who eventually join the media industry. Institutions taking such initiatives and creating such opportunities will help fine tune students before they step into the real world. Professionalism in the discipline can be achieved only through quality education, incorporating a structured curriculum and proper facilities and the media industry must come forth and offer full support to work together with universities to raise their own standards in order to become competitive in the fast growing global media industry.
Source: The Express Tribune