Competitive Examination (CE) 2014 saw a change of trend in examination pattern wherein more at test was the candidate’s in-depth understanding of the subject rather than his/her memory. Although it was a pleasant change for some, it was not much welcomed by most aspirants. The open-ended questions provided the candidate with a broader canvas to express his intellectual prowess. The recent revision in the syllabi of all CSS subjects by the FPSC reflects a similar approach to that of CE-2014. The newly-introduced changes intend to instil in the would-be officers, a deeper and a thorough understanding of the changes the world is going through in relation with the subject. Similar is the case with the subject of Journalism & Mass Communication as well.
Before a candidate embarks on the preparation for a subject, s/he must learn what the syllabus is designed to achieve and what the examiners expect the candidates to be capable of. The previous syllabus of Journalism —much similar to that of BA Journalism — was devised at a time when there was no existence of electronic media in Pakistan and the social media was not even thought of. It, basically, was aimed at giving candidates some know-how about the system of print journalism e.g. newspapers, magazines, press laws and ethics, with a tinge of the communication process. With this outdated approach fully at work, the candidates found Journalism an easy choice that also, almost incessantly, yielded excellent scores. With a study time of only 10 days, wherein only 10 to 15 important questions were to be memorized, was sufficient to acquire 60 plus marks.
Through the revised syllabus — which is still as candidate-friendly as it was before — the approach to the subject has changed. Although still pregnant with opportunities to secure maximum marks, the new syllabus omits sections related to Advertising, Magazine Journalism, Press Releases, Communiqué and News-writing to be replaced by new sections relating to Global/International Communication; Media, Society & the Impact, Relationship and Role in Development; and Development Journalism, its Evolution and Role. It also has an elaborate description of major sub-heads of the syllabus — something that was missing in the previous syllabus. It means that candidates can now amply understand as to where they have to target their energies to comprehensively cover the syllabus.
Being placed in Group VII — the set of subjects that most candidates in the previous scheme of CSS examination have opted all of their optional subjects from, e.g. Geography, Psychology, Sociology, Journalism, regional and international languages — the subject of Journalism & Mass Communication should be an easy and a smart choice for the prospective candidates as the topics specified therein diversify candidates’ knowledge. It will also give a new angle to their perspectives they have on Pakistan’s current political and social horizon besides broadening their horizon for future policy-making – the job they intend to attain in the first place.