ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s electronic media may have created quite waves in the world and drastically changed country’s political and social landscape, however a Islamabad based largest university seems to be unaware of the media revolution. Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) – the leading distance learning institutions of the country- still teaching Mass Communication student’s decades old course about electronic media under the slogan of “Education for all”.
The Course Book Electronic Media Part1 & 2, which is being taught to M.Sc students, says that there is only one private news channel in the country. Though, currently, country has over 50 news channels, updating people round the clock. In the course book, the students are also not being taught about the dozens of private FM offering entertainment and news round the clock. AIOU book, code no 5627 and 5628, said: “Electronic Information and Broadcast network in Pakistan is controlled by government. Due to government control, it is not possible for any individual or a company to launch a private television channel in Pakistan independently.
On page number 112, it is mentioned that country has only one private TV channel that is called Shalimar Television Network (STN). “In 1989, the Government of Pakistan has granted a license to Peoples Television Network (PTN) later renamed as Shalimar Television Network, read the book adding that STN provides 30 percent of its airtime to the government for its programmes free of charges.”
Speaking to this scribe, a teacher of AIOU Mass communication department said that the book was first published in 1997, but later on university administration didn’t bother to revise it. He said that teaching faculty during workshops; try to update students about electronic media. “Whenever students question me about this book I feel embarrassment, because we take fee from students in the name of study material but we are forced to provide them outdated books about electronic media,” he bemoaned. AIOU started Mass Communication department in I997. According to university’s website, around 700 students from all parts of the country are enrolled in the program every year in the spring semester.
A student of Mass Communication at Allama Iqbal Open University told reporter that he got admission in media studies with the dream to become a journalist but he was aghast to found that his knowledge about media is more updated than what is written on outdated course book of MSc Mass Communication. Seniors of varsity media department said that the book is not been taught anymore but the course outline cite the course code to be taught to MSc students in first semester on website of the institute.