Ahead of International Day of Education, exhibition encourages young minds to explore careers and vocations in media


       NGO Salaam Bombay Foundation partners with St Xavier’s College to curate unique exhibition titled Education Beyond Books
by Priya Jadhav
Mumbai : On Wednesday, Sayli Jadhav of Bhausaheb Hirey Vidyalaya, and her friends were at the St Xavier’s College Auditorium in Fort rather early. The group, accompanied by their teachers,was all set to attend a special exhibition organised ahead of International Day of Education.
As Sayli and her cronies entered the auditorium, they were pleasantly surprised to see a very unique gate welcoming them. It was shaped like a book and provided a befitting preview of all the exciting things that lay in store for them.
The group was attending the exhibition titled Education Beyond Books curated by NGO Salaam Bombay Foundation in association with the Mass Media Department of St Xavier’s College. The event aimed at motivating young students to explore career options in fields like media that are not only exciting but offer lucrative opportunities as well. This was the first time the NGO joined hands with a prestigious educational institution like St Xavier’s to reach out to young students.
For Sayli and most others like her present on the day, the term ‘media' was familiar, albeit its knowledge limited. They had seen journalists on television and read newspapers. However, they had not considered studying media or pursuing a career in the field themselves. Wednesday’s exhibition changed their perception completely.
Education Beyond Booksfocussed on encouraging students from different strata of the society – those from private educational institutions as well as government schools -- to broaden their horizons towards arenas like media. It aimed to be an interactive learning experience to help them understand and acknowledge the power of media and make informed career choices.
More importantly, Education Beyond Books intended to reach out not just to students but other stakeholders as well -- schools and teachers in particular. It looked at creating awareness among them about the opportunities in media studies and encouraging them to introduce the subject as part of the regular curriculum. Currently, most schools do not have the proper resources or infrastructure to carry out media courses. They also lack access to expert media professionals who can add value to the curriculum. 
Another highlight of the exhibition was the collaboration between students of the Salaam Bombay Media Academy and St. Xavier’s College students who displayed their works together. As many as 80 students from the Salaam Bombay Media Academy and 45 students from St. Xavier’s College managed to bring the world of media alive through installations on print, electronic and digital forms.
The theme of collaboration resonated through various other aspects of the exhibition too. For instance, the event was attended by students from a host of different educational institutions across the city. This meant that students from government schools and those from established private educational institutions got a chance to interact, share ideas and exchange knowledge in turn leading to immense mutual learning.
For the visiting students, interacting with the students of St Xavier’s BMM course was a golden opportunity since they could talk to seniors who were currently studying media courses to better understand the relevance. The latter, in turn, acted as mentors offering guidance and providing information. The visitors were also highly impressed after witnessing a live newsroom and a studio complete with audience put together by the Salaam Bombay and St Xavier’s students to give a glimpse of the nuances of news. The idea was to embed experiences of the real-world working of media in the presentations. These presentations offered visitors the ‘behind the scenes’ of a newsroom and a studio -- an experience only a few are privy to.
Speaking about the event, Rajashree Kadam, Vice President, Arts & Media, Salaam Bombay Foundation, said, “Today, media has become a very important area for study since it is contemporary and ever evolving. It is such an essential part of lives that it decides how people become informed or misinformed and what myths and ideologies govern our lives. All of us are connected in some or the other way with some form of media and this is why it has become increasingly important to study media.”
She added, “Many young students do not have the right kind of exposure to pursue higher studies in fields like media. Through this exhibition, we wanted to showcase the vast range of opportunities in this field. We also invited teachers and other stakeholders to the exhibition so they could consider introducing media as a part of regular curriculum.”
Dr. Rajendra Shinde, Principal, St. Xavier's College, said, “It is the educational mission of St. Xavier's College to embrace all sections of the community and share our wealth of knowledge with them. It is heartening to see our young mass media students learn and live this mission, by mentoring the community school students and curating this media-exhibition. I also thank Salaam Bombay Foundation for this collaboration and giving our students this opportunity.”
About Salaam Bombay Foundation
Salaam Bombay Foundation started in 2002 to work with 12 to 17-year-old adolescent children growing up in Mumbai’s slums. These children live in extreme poverty and in “at-risk” environments. The municipal schools they go to do not have the resources to give them individual attention, career guidance or access to activities that stimulate the mind. Many are undernourished and face the risk of substance abuse. They come from financially challenged homes and are pressured to drop out of secondary school and seek jobs to support their families.  Given these ground realities, Salaam Bombay Foundation has harnessed the ability of child-friendly, innovative education tools to develop life skills and coping skills necessary to ensure that these adolescents develop into well-rounded personalities, able to meet the challenges they face and take on leadership roles within their communities.
The Foundation keeps children in school by empowering them to make the right choices about their health, education and livelihood thereby ensuring that they can thrive with a bright future. In-school leadership and advocacy programmes equip "at-risk" adolescents with the life skills they need to lead change. The Sports, Arts and Media academies encourage them to express themselves and provide performance opportunities that build self-esteem. The skills@school programme broadens their career horizons and empowers them with vocational skills for sustainable careers. Thus Salaam Bombay initiatives increase confidence, give vulnerable adolescents the means to earn part-time and stay in school, and provide the tools to explore their full potential.

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