Conclusion: what should media do in the future?

Throughout this period of analysis, it is undeniable that the children education problem in South Asia doesn’t achieve enough attention. Most of the media reports are from those professional organisations or local media, with a few of them from foreign media.

Coincidently, the earthquake occurred in Nepal on 25th April and after that almost all the media respond to this immediately including the BBC, CNN and so on. This accidence proves the word again that ‘urgent’ kills ‘important’.

In combination, I hold that the media should improve their coverage through following methods:

1.Do more investigative reports rather than wait for emergency issues.

2.Carefully use data and make them reliable as well as valid.

3.Foreign media should avoid bias and local media should efficiently use its local source.

4.Integrate diversified media forms to reduce distance between the South Asia and the developed regions.

  1. All the journalists should avoid their preset stance (the middle or upper class).

6.Do not overdue exaggerate the plight of the children in South Asia.


Access to education for 1 million children improved: whether the data valid or not?

Recently, UNICEF has published a press release to praise its achievements through the collaboration with ING. The tile said ’Access to education for 1 million children improved through 10-year UNICEF and ING partnership’.

Admittedly, the release, to some extent, attempt to prove ‘1 million children improved’. For instance, it is said the partnership has supplied 3,000 Indian primary schools with training material as well as teacher training, offered 37,622 girls in India free transport, provided 720 alternative basic education centres for Indian child labourers.

However, their partnership aid in Brazil Ethiopia India Nepal and Zambia is not totally equal to what local children have achieved. That is to say, the data of the contribution cannot efficiently prove I million children’s education has improved in these areas.

As far as I am concerned, it is necessary to publish the number of local children’s local enrollments as well as how many of them finally completely the whole primary education. In addition, the average literacy change within this period is also a kind of important evidence. Apart from the historical comparisons, some contrasts between those regions and other countries will be more beneficial for people to understand the progresses in these places comprehensively.

Good comparisons, bad data source

Education is not a single issue and it always connected to other poverty or inequality problems. As a result I also choose this online magazine article’India’s Wrong Priorities: As Children Go Hungry PM Modi Buys Fighter Jets In France ’(Forbes).

On one hand, this article includes various comparisons like bringing revenue and jobs for France but worsen plight for Indian citizens. In addition, when discussing the dilemma in India, author also selects China, the similar developing Asian country as the comparison and when analysing its own national condition, he also points out the increasing hard power neveertheless the losing soft power.

However, in order to criticise Indian PM’s unwise decision, author utilised a large amount of statistics to demonstrate the plight in India. For instance’960 million Indians live on less than $2 a day’ ‘44% of its children under five suffering malnutrition’ and ‘Over a-third of females in India are illiterate’.

But all of these data mentioned give nothing about where they are from. Consequently, the reliability of these numbers is suspicious. In combination with the author Jean Pierre Lehmann’s background, he was born in Washington DC and the director of The Evian Group whose main task targeting at global issue.

So, to a large extent, the author at the global stance, had hold preset bias against military and subjectively emphasised the plight in India with much data from unknown sources.

Proximity makes the information delayed and general: whether the children are educated or schooled

There are two short news articles about the child education in India. The first one, released on 9th of April 2015 and titled as ‘India made big gains in child education: UN’ said ‘…gross enrollment ratio in pre-primary education touched 58% in 2012 compared to 19% in 1999.Primary education net enrolment ratio reached 99% in 2012.’ Another news (1st April 2015) whose headline was ‘Children in India being schooled, not educated: RTE forum’, said ‘…only 10% schools in country are meeting norms of RTE Act and over one lakh schools are on the verge of closure …about 8.32% schools are being run depending on a single teacher.’

Both of the two articles were from The Times of India, and the second one appeared only 8 days before the first story. However, the attitudes were almost contrast with each other. Different source reports led to this distinction.

On one hand, UNESCO is an International organisation dominated by developed countries, so it normally just provides some general statistics due to the long-distance from the local areas. However, RTC forum is a local forum, which has accumulated a large amount of Indian education networks and organisations, so it to some extent can provide more specific, professional and latest information about Indian children’s education.

In combination, I think media should give more detailed explanation and comparison of the news source or data to avoid such paradox.

The shift of the public attention in media charity when involving the celebrities

The 7th edition of ‘Ramp for Champs’ a charity fashion show initiated by the Smile Foundation, was held at Hotel Renaissance in Powai, Mumbai. The aim of the show is to raise fund for the education of 1000 girl children from across India. This charity show invited various famous Indian actresses and singers.

On one side, this media event did catch a lot of attention from both the public and the media. On the basis of those celebrities, a lot of media like Yahoo India News, Bollywood Helpline and India West all report this meaningful event. Meanwhile some cyber citizens discussed heatedly online.

However, first of all, most of the media were concentrated on the celebrities who attended the show .For instance, Yahoo India News’s headline was’Huma Qureshi, Taapsee Pannu, Evelyn Sharma and Others at Ramp for Champs 2015’. At the same time, public are also concerned more about the celebrities in the show rather than its motivation. Cyber citizens left a lot of comments about the superstars on the Simile Foundation’s Facebook like ‘Dressing super’, ‘Kafi Lambi ho’ and so on.

As the article ‘The X-factor of charity a critical analysis of celebrities’ involvement in 2010 Flemish and Dutch Haiti relief shows’ mentions, celebrities’ participation in media event can grant the charity media an aura and increase attention, while it may also lead to oversimplification of political and development issue. It can blur the aim of the charity that support the underprivileged children’s education.

From press release to news release:different regions different key points

On the 9th of April, UNESCO released a 2015 EFA Global Monitoring Report ‘Education for all 2000-2015:achievements and challenges’. Various media adopted the source from this report, but there are quite different highlights in western media and developing media.

Western media prefer to emphasise the negative side of the issue and generally overlook those developing countries who have achieved the targets.

From the headline and lead, UNECO’s report pointed out only a third of countries achieved global education goals. However, the western media mainly underlined their failures. For instance, The Guardian’s(UK) headline is ‘Education for All scheme has failed to meet targets, says Unesco’ and Deutsche Welle’s (Germany)title is ‘Two thirds of countries miss UN education goals’. But NDTV, an Indian commercial broadcasting network still utilised original title in UNESCO’s new –‘only a third of countries reach 2015 education goals: UN’ .

From the content, western media would like to take the developing countries as the example for failure like ‘Trained teachers remain in short supply in one-third countries: in several sub-Saharan countries,less than 50% are trained’(The Guardian). They never referred that several developing countries like Cuba, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia have managed to get the target,  but this point was included in NDTV’s coverage.

The role of those international organisations according to their press release: take the Oxfam for an example

A lot of researches reveal that more and more mass media are independent on those third-sector organisations as their news sources. That is to say, these organisations’ attitudes and discourse to the developing world can easily influence media’s stance and indirectly have impacts on the public.

I select two press releases from Oxfam India.

The first one ‘Oxfam India working to remove roadblocks in education of Dalit children in Uttar Pradesh’, emphasise the situation of children’s education in India as well as a campaign to improve enrollment in Dalit community. But according to its headline, people may consider that the Oxfam India is the main promoter or hero to reduce the ratio of drop-out-of –school.

The second one ‘When schools continue to exclude, can education reduce caste discrimination in India?’, presents its another role- fundraiser. It does explain the caste inequality to some extend hinders the universal education, but it further links the caste system to the gap between the poor and the rich. And it points out ‘the economic growth can solve our problem’, which means the social discrimination may fell when the investments into education rises. Indirectly, it calls for the public to fund money to increase the education in India and then eliminate the caste system.