Films and Education: The Larger Picture

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Like education, films have become an integral part of our lives. The license to dive into another world of make-belief, they have become objects of projection for many of us that otherwise we would not have even thought of doing in our real lives. Over the years however films have made rapid strides with regards to its significance in the field of education. Projections and alternative identity is something else, but how did films come to get associated with education? It’s the power embedded in them that we as audiences soak up while viewing a motion picture without even paying any heed to the same.

Films are composed of audio and visual effects. It is here that lays the uninhibited power to exploit, motivate and infuse ideas and details into any human being’s mind. The most powerful means to garner attention is what makes it a truly formidable medium and an ideal one to be used to facilitate and accentuate education.

Lack of proper education since time immemorial has been blamed for much of the evils present in society today. The challenge is more when it comes to developing nations. Over burgeoning population levels, lack of education infrastructure, corruption and lack of visionaries have only made matters worse. India being a developing nation faces all of these problems with remarkable high levels of illiteracy and also poverty which further tangles the cycle of education. Only 12% of India’s youth avail higher education. Each year India sees a new crop of 5,00,00 graduates, 75% of whom according to NASSCOM estimates are not easily employable thanks to their lack of job oriented training. So education is not becoming literate it is a means to further the quality of life. Over time the challenges have widened further. The vital aspect now is to capture young minds so that they are enamored by the whole process of education. What better way to do it than by using films as a medium.

Various independent surveys and research have for long boasted of the uses of marriage between education and films. However in a world dominated by technology it offers both a challenge to keep up with the pace and also a luxury for choice that can be inherited for better application. Those who have taken the latter path have achieved undiminished success. One such example would be that of Sikkim Manipal University Distance Education. In a country where the youth population is close to half a billion, SMU-DE has been the pioneer of providing industry based education delivered by incorporating the latest in technology using the audio and visual medium to its maximum.

Voted as the best distance learning institute in the country in terms of results & efficiency and the third best overall, SMU-DE is also the leader in technology blended education. EduNxt, a multi award winning Internet based learning platform uses the tools behind films to make learning fun and interesting. Webinars, video presentations, project collaboration, attending classes and lectures and industry based mentor interaction can all be done at the touch of a button and that too 24x7. It’s no surprise then that SMU-DE has an alumni base exceeding 0.3 million and SMU-DE students work in leading companies such as Infosys, IBM, Wipro, HCL, ICICI Bank and many more.

The idea then is to blend the benefits of films and through the help of advanced technology integrate them into education. The process of which SMU-DE is a live example can be both highly rewarding and enriching. SMU-DE has always believed in education for all and is definitely on the right path to its goal. But as we all know, the wish lingers in our heads that if only other institutions and personalities showed a little more intent and vigor, India would have been far ahead. The tools, resources and the brains exist. It’s the application that is lacking. Hope the day is not far when others too start applying themselves for a better educated India.

SMUDE (talk)20:29, 3 September 2010