The journalism education curriculum, it is believed, is in
tune with the emerging demands of Nepalese media profession
that is facing new challenges of newly restored multiparty democracy.
However shortcomings in administration and management of the
University system as a whole, the lack of financial resources,
and politicization of the academic environment have immensely
hampered efficient and effective implementation of the University
curriculum. The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication,
being located at the Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus, is more vulnerable
to undesirable political activities in the metropolitan city
of Kathmandu. The course works are thus often hampered. It is
therefore too much to expect from the ideal journalism curriculum,
despite the fact that it is conceived and designed keeping in
view the challenges of the 21st century.
Some of the glaring examples of unhealthy effects of foul education
environment in the country in respect of journalism education
The internships and the existing lab facilities do exist in
the Department but these are far inadequate for such a course.
The condition of shortcoming has adversely affected the teaching
schedules and as a result the Department has not been able to
focus as much as it would have liked on the practical classes.
The lack of financial resources on the other hand has always
stood in the way of effective practical works. There are no
facilities for practical works as prescribed for the students
of electronic media.
Public Relations and Advertising syllabus has not been practically
meaningful and relevant for the students. Professionally successful
public relations and advertising organization outfits are highly
reluctant to provide practical training to the University students,
as they appear to be too pre-occupied with their business priorities.
The Department is ill equipped to provide practical works for
the students of photojournalism. However, it has managed to
coordinate with professional photo studios and photographers
to make the students accessible to photo-lab experiences and
to learn news photography with professional photojournalist.
This, however, costs money. So far the Department has been able
to get access to a very modest lab tuition fee; but that is
not enough for quality photojournalism training.
The opportunities for practical journalism works in the realistic
electronic media situation are rare because the electronic media
worthy of practical works are by and large state-owned and they
have their own rules to go by and own limitations and shortcomings
to be able to accommodate trainees from the University. FM stations
are coming up and, in the process; they are expected to provide
practical training opportunities for the University students.
The financial constraints of the Department would be eased
a little if the overall policy of the government in respect
of journalism and mass communication is reoriented keeping in
view the new perspectives in the political and socio-economic
horizon of Nepal.
The national policy on journalism and mass communication education
should be formulated on the premise that this education is a
continuing process, which has two phases, namely, the pre-entry
phase and the post-entry phase. The first phase begins in the
secondary school and ends at the university departments or institutes;
the second phase begins with practice of media profession and
continues throughout the practice. Each phase has both formal
and non-formal components. The success of national media policy
is measured in development of harmonious, healthy and sustainable
growth of media manpower and the profession. Such a policy is,
it is believed, will prove beneficial in many ways. For instance,
the media profession's commitment towards raising the standard
of journalism education may become meaningful; experienced media
professions could share their practical experience and knowledge
to enrich students with the development of quality education
the prospects of employment for journalism graduates may increase,
this may, in turn, enhance the performance of the media.
For a genuine democracy quackery in mass communication will
spell disaster particularly in developing countries where poverty
and ignorance rule supreme.
The growth in demand for journalism education is seen in any
country as a positive symptom of vibrant and sustainable democracy.
But in Nepal the phenomenal rise in enrollment in the Department
of Journalism and Mass Communication does not warrant such a
conclusion inasmuch as this apparent numerical increase is no
less a result of the faulty process of admission, the system
of choices available to the applicants and the manipulation
of Entrance Tests. Moreover, the Department is the only on in
the country which enrolls journalism students for PCL through
Bachelors level courses. Where as in the University Department
of Journalism more than 200 are enrolled at PCL Level.
There is a veritable need of journalism and mass communication
education and training in the country. The University must realize
that if it fails to provide quality education in journalism
and mass communication, then it would have failed democracy,
for, in the ultimate analysis, it is the majority of ill-informed
misguided, ill-tempered and, therefore, uneducated populace
that will serve the purposes of representative democracy. Where
this type of populace will lead to, if not to a disaster?