Most people working in areas like Public Relations (PR) in Pakistan today have not had formal training. Of course, in the developed world, you can do full degrees as well as short courses in these fields as well. However, the world over, most people working in this field have had some kind of education in the media.
Event Management is another lucrative sub-section of the PR industry, which deals with promoting events like concerts, fashions shows, etc. Yet, only Indus Valley School Karachi offers a six months diploma in Event Management. There is a dearth of professional courses available in this area.
Formal education can help practitioners learn the skills, strategies, and relevant theories to promote people, products, campaigns and change public opinion. This professional training is even more important because of the sudden ascent of digital media and social networking.
Though promotion in the Twitter age is easier than ever before, larger organisations still need professional help because the dynamics are also more complex than ever before.
Government universities have fewer options. Government College University, Lahore, for instance, doesn’t even have a proper media department. Punjab University has an extensive media studies department and offers several courses in PR, theories, case-studies, marketing, and advertising, especially in their Professional Track MPhil programme. The Karachi University has graduate and undergraduate programmes in Public Administration, which includes courses on PR. The Virtual University also has an undergraduate course on PR, which explores areas like consultancy, house journals, public speaking, market education, and sponsorship. These courses can be done from home.
Since most universities have a journalism department, there is scope for including courses and full degree programmes in PR. Partly because it is one of the few communication related fields that has the potential to pay well, considerably more than journalism.
Students are hired by companies to work as PR managers there. These can be NGOs, educational institutes, government departments and media outlets. Many PR professionals start working with Ad agencies.
Full-fledged PR companies, consultancies and projects are also available, that solely focus on handling the PR of their clients. This is a growing field and obviously people with formal education in it will have an edge as the competition toughens.
Beaconhouse National University in Lahore has an extended media studies department and includes a full-fledged Masters in Advertising and Public Relations. The course teaches heavy-weight subjects like govt-public relations and effective public relations. “PR is in boom, every company needs a professional who should know how to use the media,” said Fatima Jahanzeb, a lecturer at BNU.”