...harvesting the cult of alter reading...

Search This Blog

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

India Beats for Media Literacy

India beats for Media Literacy

Ratheesh Kaliyadan
Most of our children abounded with media messages emerged  from newspapers, magazines, TV, Radio and from the new media. The affluent flow of messages influences their life from various directions. Media syndrome is a major issue of city folk and even in villages, though the intensity is lesser. Increased exposure to the media is associated with multi-faceted problems like increasing obesity, body dissatisfaction, aggressive behavior and many more amongst Indian children. They are growing fast mentally and physically whom psychologists are termed now as  ‘The New Kid’. It is pathetic to realize that our children are not treated by the media world considerably. India has least number of kids channels. Out of total only 3 percent of channels are kids’ channels ( 17). In a country which has 550 TV channels, 77,600 newspaper types in multiple language, 595 movie releases ( including Hindi, regional and Hollywood releases) and so many FM channels have we ever wondered what space have we given in a such a wide canvas to our children. According to FICCI-KPMG Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2011 “Hitting the High Notes” the Indian media and entertainment industry grew from INR 587 billion in 2009 to INR 652 billion in 2010. The growth is registering an overall growth of 11 percent. The industry includes TV, Radio Print, cinema and gaming. The educational and entertainment needs of a very vast population i.e. children is disregarded in this race.
 The kids’ genres of channels are not offering much better performance is yet another reality which we face. The children watch programmes produced for Adults. The reality shows, the soap operas, the highly sensualized news stories are definitely not meant for children. But they anyhow are watching them with great interest. In such an environment, there is a wider chance to implement media literacy programmes in schooldays. Children reach school at the age of 5 in India. Curricular and co-curricular experiments are possible in India environment. Sophisticated media consumers and the fact that they experience so many medium at home would seem to be as a good reason to include it in the curriculum than to exclude it. At national level, Central Institute for Education and Training, NCERT, New Delhi began an effort to make media literacy campaign. Their target audience is the secondary and senior secondary students. The institute started Media clubs in schools.
Government of Kerala introduced journalism course in Higher Secondary Schools is the first attempt in India to consider at a large. The course introduced in August 2000.  Higher Secondary Education began the course in seven schools, now the course runs in 75 schools. The growth indicates the social demand for the course. The major drawback of the curriculum is that it does not cover the critical thinking. If the curriculum is revisited in a style, which promotes critical analysis of the media sector, the effort will be the first one in India media education history at school level.
Non- Governmental Organisations like Mediaact in Thiruvananthapuram and Media Analysis and Research Center in Kozhikode tried their own efforts in media literacy sector in Kerala. These are not well framed and organized forms of activities. Lack of closely knitted curricula and research oriented documents pull back such efforts from the mainstream.

No comments: