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Varsity dust-cover on media studies

At a time when the cash- strapped government is planning to encourage self-financed courses and institutions in higher education, Calcutta University appears to have engaged in an exercise to discourage students from joining its existing courses, which it can run without government assistance.

After discontinuing a one-year self-financed diploma course in mass communication at the beginning of this year, the university’s journalism and mass communication department does not look too keen to keep another self-financed course running.

The tests for admission to a one-year diploma course in media studies (film and television) is pending since March this year and the university has still not made any announcement on the probable date for the admission tests. The media studies (film and television) is one of the oldest self-financed courses of the university and there is a good demand for it among students.

“We have contacted the examinations department of the university over and over again since March, but they couldn’t tell us whether the course will at all be continued in future,” said an aspiring student.

The media studies (film and television) course was introduced by the university seven years ago and ever since, all the seats were filled up every year, in spite of the high fees charged.

Against the meagre amount of Rs 18 per month normally charged from students for most of its other courses, the university had been charging Rs 1,200 per month as tuition fees for the media studies course right from its inception. The self-financed one-year diploma course in mass communication, which was discontinued recently, was only a year old. “We don’t understand what is holding up the admission tests when there is so much demand for the course,” said another student.

D.P. Dey, secretary of the arts and journalism faculty, in charge of overseeing the admission tests, said the exams could not be held following the detection of certain irregularities in the admission process.

“We won’t be able to hold the admission tests until we can remove the irregularities,” said Dey without clarifying the details of the complaints that have prompted the university to put the admission tests on hold.

He reassured students, saying there was no possibility of discontinuation of the course altogether. Instead, steps were being taken to hold the entrance exams “as early as possible”.

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