Indian bishops’ institute struggles to shed “religious” image

May 16, 2017 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

New Delhi, May 16, 2017: An institute Indian Catholic bishops began two decades ago to train priest and nuns in communication, now struggles to shed its “religious” image to become mainstream media institute open to all.

Initially, the National Institute of Social Communication and Research Training (NISCORT) “failed to give a college campus atmosphere” and many took it as another house of formation for Catholic Religious, said Father Jose Murickan, its present director.

The institute was started to train priest and nuns in pastoral communication in India, instead of sending them for such courses overseas. “But now we have a shift in attitude. We want to make it open to all, with some preference to Catholics,” he told ucanews.

The institute launched in 1997 developed over the years “a good infrastructure, including library and audio-visual studios. All that will go waste if we do not have students,” the priest said.

Up until two years ago, the institute based in Ghaziabad, a satellite town of national capital New Delhi, taught only pastoral communication as a short-term course. A total 250 students went through it, but 200 of them were priests and nuns.

Since 2005, after it started two-year postgraduate courses in journalism, audio/visual and broadcast journalism, 154 students were admitted. But only 80 of them were priests and nuns.

The priest said educational market, especially professional degree colleges, are competing with each other to attract students. “We do not have enough money to pump in for big advertisements. So we spread the word through emails and social media platforms,” he said.

Sneha Paul, who completed her postgraduate course this year, told that her batch “suffered a lot” because of poor faculty a year ago. “The situation has improved with the new faculty. The new batches would benefit,” she said.

– ucan

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