First things first: AJK Mass Communication Research Centre is time and again listed as one of the premier institutes in India in the field of Mass Communication. For Journalism, with its course in Convergent Journalism, it perhaps is. But for MA Mass Communication, the centre's flagship and most prestigious course, focused on media production and filmmaking, the environment is not that conducive. The problem is not with the course, but with the implementation of it. Filmmaking and production are definitely not done best in rigorous confines. The scenario is such that there are industry level infrastructure and availability of the latest equipment, but it's always a hassle to get it issued, and it ends up lying in the recesses of the tech store rather than being utilized by the students in their shoots. There are abundant resources - both academic and intellectual - in the library which closes at 5 PM sharp, which is also when the classes end, is closed for 2 hours on Friday afternoons and is totally shut on the Saturdays, even when Saturdays are relatively easier.
So on weekdays, you have to make a choice to attend either the classes or to sit in the library.
The faculty is undoubtedly the only saving grace of this institution, with some of the professors being truly intellectually stimulating and inspiring figures. Unfortunately, the professors themselves are dated and distant from the industry now, and there is no dynamic interaction with the industry. There is definitely some interaction with the radio and news outlets, and the documentary circuit, which is based primarily out of Delhi, but the centre is totally clueless when it comes to fiction filmmaking and television production, which are the core components of the mass communication course.
The MCRC has also become a bit complacent in its attitude, with no passion and push for betterment, perceivable in the staff or students. Which translates to the stories of the glory days, and success stories of alumni, dominating in place of the discourse on how things could be better, which becomes the tragedy of this institute.
There is no free hand to students regarding projects, a lazy administration, a dingy canteen with just the most basic of items, a not so diverse student body, a 'chaetae hai' attitude, no ECA or sports culture per se, and everything else that together make this institution a not so happening place to study.
But, with MCRC being held in such a high regard, and with it topping the rankings (a claim which is corroborated every year with the issue of Outlook India's list of top professional colleges in the field of mass communication), and upon encounter with students from other media colleges the stark difference visible between our exposure, and what they have been exposed to, brings a very pertinent question to the fore: If this is the best India has to offer in the field of mass communication, how despairingly low the level of education in this field is!
To sum it up, the institution does give you a strong theoretical and conceptual grounding in the various functions of media and communication. The practical element is there, and pleasantly occupies the larger chunk of coursework. It's also quite enjoyable as an experience, but the place could be so much better with some systemic tweaks, and a passion that is missing - in most of the faculty, the administration, and students.