Amith Prabhu: 15 things we need to see in a PR Institute in 2015

12 Jan,2015

By Amith Prabhu

 

The Public Relations business in India is really coming of age. But the education for Public Relations professionals at the entry level has not seen significant evolution. This could be due to a variety of factors. There are a couple of institutes offering integrated courses. But India is seeing a greater demand for good talent than ever before. We need to see good institutes for Public Relations education in India. Here’s my list of 15 things we need to see in a PR institute in 2015

 

1. A dedicated academy – India does not have an institute that teaches only Public Relations like it has for law, technology and medicine. PR is an art and a science and needs a dedicated environment for a focused evolution.

 

2. An option for mid-level professionals to do refreshers – No institute offers consistent and affordable career development programmes for mid-level to senior level professionals. This is the need of the hour.

 

3. Practising professionals as Faculty – Very few PR institutes of repute are located in Mumbai and Gurgaon which is where the best professionals in the business live and work. Hence getting them as visiting faculty to other locations is never easy.

 

4. Affordable fees – Any course that costs more than Rs 5 lakh immediately makes students assume that their starting annual salary will be on similar lines. We need more affordable courses because salaries will not rise drastically for freshers.

 

5. Smarter curriculum – In an age of unconferences, we need to have two types of curriculum running simultaneously. One that is fixed and the other that the students evolve in the first week of the course based on global trends that are constantly shaping.

 

6. A better selection process – Gone are the days of group discussions and written tests held for the masses. The entrance procedure needs to find the best of the best. This needs a contest like approach to attract the finest for the future of PR.

 

7. Lesser focus on placements – Students should worry less about placements as good courses and good students will find jobs. The focus needs to be on getting well trained for a bright future.

 

8. Radical internships – PR is not an easy career to progress in. A good grounding should include internships in restaurants, news outlets and more out of the box places.

 

9. Quality over quantity – Faculty needs to be full-time and fully equipped. A few who teach a lot. Rather than a lot who teach little.

 

10.   An international outlook – Programmes need to have international collaborations in terms of exchange programmes, faculty visits and wherever possible internships as well. Eight of the Top 10 PR firms in India are headquartered in USA or France.

 

11.   Undoing the factory mentality – Media schools have become factories. Hundreds of students graduate and several are half-baked. The focus should be on high quality rather than high quantity.

 

12.   Creating realistic salary expectations – This is the big one. Unless students are sensitized about salaries from the time of admissions they will build unrealistic expectations and won’t want to join PR firms after all the training because the salaries do not match up

 

13.   Emphasis on research – An eye for detail and a passion for research must be the be all and end all of good Public Relations. The initial training needs to set groundwork for this

 

14.   5 C concentration (Corporate responsibility, Crisis management, Content creation, Communication packaging, Creative thinking) – These need to be taught in theory and practice. These are the future of the profession. These are pivotal for successful career growth

 

15.   Making students realize the importance of  Focus, Commitment, Knowledge – From Day one the cornerstone of student achievement needs to be set around Focus on the task at hand, commitment to the profession and knowledge of various domains.

 

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