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KU Fails To Update Media Studies Curriculum Per HEC Recommendations

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KARACHI: The Dr Feroz Ahmed Institute of Mass Communication at the University of Karachi (KU) has produced some of the best journalists in the country, but is now lagging behind other institutes in imparting the required modern skills to graduates made necessary by the introduction of computer networking and digitisation of media.

According to sources at KU, the institute is following an outdated curriculum which has not been updated since the last 13 years.

The communications department has miserably failed to incorporate latest digital journalism concepts in the syllabi even after the Higher Education Commission (HEC) introduced new and modern curricula for journalism and media studies in all educational institutes of the country.

HEC introduced the latest curricula in 2013 and again in 2017 after consultations with top Pakistani journalists and journalism professors. It merits mention here that faculty members of KU’s Institute of Mass Communication were also a part of the curriculum committee.

In 2013, Professor Mehmood Ghaznavi participated in HEC’s curriculum committee and actively took part in the meetings. Meanwhile in 2017, the incumbent chairperson of the institute Professor Seemi Naghmana chaired the meetings that took place in HEC’s Peshawar office.

Sources at KU said that in 2017, the institute got the new curriculum approved from the university’s academic council, but failed to implement it.

Meanwhile, other public and private universities in Pakistan which offer journalism and media studies courses updated their curricula by including subjects that deals with digital media. Due to this reason, journalism graduates from other universities join professional news organisations while being fully equipped with all modern skills related to the media. But graduates from Feroz Ahmed Institute of Mass Communication fail to compete with their colleagues due to lack of knowledge in this connection.

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Moreover, the KU’s mass communication department also lacks modern technology to teach students about the technological advancements made in the field of media. According to sources, there are only six computers at the institute’s computer lab and three professional cameras.

In 2017, HEC introduced film and theatre studies as compulsory subjects in the latest broadcast journalism syllabus. Other courses recommended by the HEC, included Film, Theater and Society, Introduction to Film Studies, One Belt One Road, Islamophobia in the West, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Palestine-Israel Conflict, and other courses.

In addition, the HEC also introduced subjects such as image and picture editing, basics of Adobe Photoshop, video and audio editing and software for documentary film editing, which KU failed to incorporate it its syllabus.

According to Professor Seemu Naghmana, who retired from the institute a few days ago, draft work to update the syllabus was still in progress. She said that hopefully the updated curriculum would be implemented from next year. “We have included subjects which would help students once they enter the professional field,” she said.

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