Mass Communication moves from one crisis to another
By Perwez Abdullah
Karachi: While Pakistan is facing a media boom with Karachi as its centre, the Department of Mass Communication of Karachi University that should have undertaken the task of producing graduates for this industry continues to waddle in uncertainty.
This sad situation is caused by both the teachers of the department and nonchalant behaviour of the KU administration, including the Vice Chancellor.
The department which was once sandwiched between other departments of the Arts Faculty has now shifted to a new spacious building, thanks to the philanthropy of Nadira Feroz Ahmed, the widow of Dr Feroz Ahmed, who bequeathed Rs15 million to upgrade the department to an institute.
Unfortunately the generous donation and the lofty vision of Ms Ahmed did not seem to improve the overall fortunes of the department — the fathers of the department including Dr Muhammad Shamsuddin who is also the Dean of the Arts Faculty and the current chairman Prof Mahmood Ghaznavi, are not very famous for their academic prowess.
On the contrary the former is known for his behind the scene manoeuvrings that have been corroding the foundation of the university, while the latter who refuses to exit despite being tainted by a proven case of plagiarism.
When Dr Shamsuddin and Professor Ghaznavi were contacted by The News to give their version of events, they refused to do so. But the controversy of the department refuses to go away. Dr Aqeela Islam, who is currently associated with the Jinnah University for Women (JUW) as a registrar was one of the many who were selected to be the member of Board of Governors of the proposed Dr Feroz Ahmed Institute of Mass Communication. “We have not received any official notification and it seems that even those have been shelved by the concerned authorities for the time being. The teachers are running the institute as a department”, she explained.
Giving further details of her disillusionment with the MCD she added that “It was agreed that a Director would be hired from the media with adequate field knowledge. That was sabotaged by the faculty members fearing that competent people will indirectly expose their mediocrity. The team left by Dr Feroz Ahmed in 1997, has broken up after the death of Dr Feroz due to unnecessary delays.”
Students at the department are quite worried about the pathetic condition of the department. Several students have clearly stated that excepting a few they were not satisfied with the standard or disposition of their teachers. A student who is in the final year wrote a letter to The News stating that the courses taught at the department are archaic, outdated and unrelated to the modern media world.
Speaking about the dilapidated facilities at the department, a recent graduate informed, “The department has only one outdated camera for the students of electronic media. The camera is so outdated that its cassettes are no longer available in the market.”
Other courses like film making, script writing, investigative reporting, and business journalism etc, have not been added to the syllabus despite the introduction of a four year degree programme, he said adding that “this year a camera was provided by a working journalist for a few days in order to conduct the classes.”
Yet another student puts in “this year instead of making new sections, 40 more students were admitted to the class of BS third year while the original class was forced to study two courses again for the sake of new comers.”
Source: The News