Education in India

Mailin Thomas (Translation from German: M. Richstein)


0. Introduction

Unfortunately, this tentative analysis solely relies on the works of Keval Kumar as well as on my own knowledge of the country which is mainly based on the literature listed under point 13. And on the media I used. This certainly is not sufficient for a country as large as India, but it might nevertheless offer first insights.

Generally speaking, media education in India is still in an experimental stage and the feedback it receives from within the country or continent is very little, as most of the conferences take place in Europe. Another reason for this lack of progress is the fact that the concepts of media education are rather geared to the Western hemisphere.

India is a third-world country and therefore the aims it pursuits in media education are different from those in Europe. For India, the emphasis is rather on development and liberation. Kumar believes that media education should lead to democratic communication, while he refers his concepts of media education to all third-world countries.

1. Definition of Basic Terms in Media Education

In India, there is a clear distinction between the term media education, which describes education aiming at a critical use of media; the term educational technology , which, apart from conveying all teaching techniques, also includes the use of media in school lessons; and the term professional education in the media, which can be regarded as a mixture of a school of journalism and of film.

Keval Kumar´s definition of media education could therefore be understood as a teaching method that uses formal, non-formal, and informal approaches to impart a critical understanding of various media in order to lead to greater responsibility, greater participation in the production of media as well as to a greater interest in the sales and reception of media.

2. The Aims of Media Education

According to Kumar, a major aim of media education is making the media more accessible to society (he is thinking less of individuals here), so that they can be used more efficiently for public interest and welfare instead of being simply useful for the producer´s profit.

It is regarded as equally important, however, to raise and convey critical awareness, as this enables people to intervene actively in the production process instead of simply passively consuming media.

A further aim is to make this awareness usable in a democratic sense. On the whole, media education in India is aiming at enlightening the masses against despotism as well as it is supporting the liberation from the status of a third-world country. Television and cinema ca be employed for `enlightening´ as it is also accessible for the illiterate. Kumar rightly assumes that uneducated consumers of the media also reflect upon them instead of simply being manipulated by them, as is generally argued.

3. Concepts of Media Education and their Aims

There is a distinction between media education and educational technology. Media Education is learning about media and educational technology is learning by using media. The latter is integrated into the curriculum of the Indian teacher training institutes (schools of education) to enable teachers to make use of media in their lessons.

Learning about media does not take place within the institute, but is promoted by individual persons or by religious institutions as non-formal activities. These religious, social or political groups that employ media education, do so in order to point to its manipulatory or morally destructivecharacter or even for their own undemocratic (and also democratic) aims. Kumar does not object to this political side, even deems it necessary as long as it helps to improve public welfare, i.e. for social purposes or to remedy any grievances.

In practice, however, pure textual criticism is still more popular than elucidation.

4. Projects of Media Education and their Aims

Several papers on the subject exist, but there is neither any head organisation nor did any screening of the works take place. Activities in this field partly remain unnoticed.

5. Overview of Institutions Employing Media Educationists

In the south of India, there are some media educationists employed in several church schools, in the Department of Communication as well as in some non-government organisations

6. Professionals working in the field of Media Education

Professional groups working in this field include church officials, teachers, university teachers and social workers.

7. Problems in Realising Media Education in India

Media Education in India is being obstructed by two things: On the one hand, the education system is only brought into line with the exams for which it prepares; on the other hand, there are the curricula which are centrally controlled by the government, so that media education depends on government policy.

Kumar identifies another problem in media education itself.It should be taught as a cross-curricular theme, as a subject `media education´ would overvalue the media and separate it from its social context. This over-evaluation would then again lead to a theory of manipulation.

As a separate subject, media education should only be offered in Further Education.

8. The Role of Media Education in the Curricula

Media Education finds no mentioning in the Curricular and it cannot be perceived that it will in the near future.

9. The Role of Media Education in the training of educationalists

There are classes dealing with the use of media (educational technology) , but none dealing with media education as learning about media.

10. Is there an Exchange of Experiences

Occasionally, there are seminars and conferences on the topic, but most of the time the media educationist works individually, which is not a surprise in a large country almost as large as a continent

11. Cooperative Projects

Projects of this kind do take place occasionally amongst media educationalists, but on an entirely private basis.

12. The Relevance of Media Education

The frequent irrationality of the media, which in India are being controlled almost exclusively by political or commercial interests, nearly call for media education and this is why Keval Kumar ascribes great relevance to it.

In India, there is a rise in fundamentalism and nationalism connected with an increasing industrialisation and with only a mall number of people profiting from ( f.e. the software industries).

Media education is therefore being regarded as a device against despotism.

13. Basic Literature on Media Education in India

According to Kumar there is only very little literature on this topic available. However, there are two video tapes introducing the topic of media education.


1.   Media Education, Communications  Keval Kumar      Bombay: Himalaya Publishing    
     and Public Policy'                                House                          

2.   Mass Communication:A critical    Keval Kumar      Bombay:Vipul Prakashan         

3.   Media Education in India:        Jacob            New Delhi: National Institute  
     Challenges and Prospects         Scrampickal      of  Social Communication for   
                                      (ed.)            Research Training              

4.   Exercises in Media Education     Peter Gonsalves  Bombay: Tej Prasirini/Don      

5.   Media Education outside          Keval Kumar      in:EMI (Educational Media      
     School-The Indian Experience                      International),4/1989,         

6.   Advertising                      Keval Kumar      Bombay: Directorate of         
                                                       Bombay, 1990                   

7.   Redefining the goals:            Keval Kumar      in: Bazalgette, New            
     Reflections from India                            directions,1993, S.153-156     

8.   India                            Keval Kumar      Clipboard ,Winter 1996, p.7    

9.   The Politics of Satellite TV in  Keval Kumar      in: Peter Ludes (ed.),         
     Asia: Implications for Media                      Informationskontexte für       
     Education                                         Massenmedien: Theorien und     
                                                       Trends, Westdeutscher Verlag,  

1.  Keval J. Kumar             2.    Amruthavi Centre for Communication  

    Dept. Comm. &Journalism                                              

    University of Poona                                                  

    Ferguson College Road            50 Sebastian Road                   

    Poona 411 004, India             Secunderabad, India                 


3.  Communication and Culture  4.    Media Centre                                   

    Media Education Programme                                                       

    Loyola College                   96 Lavalle Road                                

    Madras 600 034, India            Bangalore 560 001, India                       

5   Chitrabani                 

    76 Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road  

    Calcutta 700 016, India    

Aktualisiert am 02/09/98