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University Scrutiny, Working Conditions, and Skill Development: A Critical Analysis of Unpaid Student Internships in Indian Media Industries

Rajeesh Kumar T. V*, Dr. S. Anand Lenin Vethanayagam

Department of Electronic Media and Mass Communication Pondicherry University, Puducherry, India

*Corresponding Author:
Rajeesh Kumar T. V
Department of Electronic Media and Mass Communication Pondicherry University, Puducherry,India
E-mail:[email protected]

Received: 02-June-2022, Manuscript No. gmj-22-63396; Editor assigned: 04-June-2022, PreQC No. gmj-22-63396; Reviewed: 20-Jun-2022, QC No. gmj-22-63396; Revised: 25-Jun-2022, Manuscript No. gmj-22-63396 (R); Published: 04-July-2022, DOI: 10.36648/1550-7521.20.52.310

Citation: Kumar RTV, Lenin AL (2022) University Scrutiny, Working Conditions, and Skill Development: A Critical Analysis of Unpaid Student Internships in Indian Media Industries. Global Media Journal, 20:52.

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Abstract

Drawing on Gramsci's concept of consent manufacturing and Althusserian idea of ideological state apparatus, this paper critically analyses unpaid student internships in India, focusing on media studies. Premised on the in-depth interviews conducted with 24 postgraduate students of various higher educational institutes in India, this paper explores the guidelines and interventions on internships, the interns' experiences in the industry, and their perceptions of unpaid internships. Findings of the interviews point to the reinforcement of the Althusserian notion of universities as an ideological state apparatus. Through the mandatory internships and less scrutinised endorsement of the industry requirements, the university departments fulfil the capitalist conditions for reproducing the productive forces for the future. The students' interviews reveal 'consent' among the students to participate in unpaid internships. However, the consent is manipulated because the students are stuck in a loop of mandatory credit requirement and the market logic of hope labour.

Keywords

Higher education; Unpaid internships; Media industry; Consent; Ideological state apparatus

Introduction

Over the past few years’ internship has become a mandatory requirement for the course completion in the higher education sector. From a voluntary learning experience, it has now turned into a compelled practice for the students. The idea of internship suggests a system of learning that evolved around a broader pedagogical philosophy of experiential education. Owing much from apprenticeship's concept and dynamics, the per formative character of internship demands the job aspirant/ student to get involved in a practical workspace with proper mentoring from the industry experts [1]. The term internship emerged in medical training in mid-nineties, and today it has gained broader meaning and implications. In today's scenario, the internship is an integral part of the labour market, which constitutes a unique economy called intern economy [2].

Internships in the contemporary world represent the neoliberal political and cultural logic where the interns expected to be market subjects ready to sell their labour. According to these logics, the internship is a future investment that improves competitiveness and employability of the 'want to be' labourers [2]. As the neoliberal logic percolates into higher education, the whole system shifts into the market language of entrepreneurialism, managerialism, market demands, skill requisites, individual incentives, and quantified targets [3]. The growing acceptance of unpaid internships in the higher education system is a repercussion of neoliberal policies' embracement.

Creative industries perceived as significant contributors to the newly evolving intern economy. In culture industries such as media, arts, and communication, the internship has become a general component in the respective sectors and related courses' academic curriculum. With lesser paid contracts, flexible freelancers, and unpaid internships, the creative industries' work organisation has made a potential shift.

The mandatory internships for credit requirement have become a legitimised practice in media studies. However, educational institutions often skip the proper scrutiny of these internship programmes' procedures and outcome. The internship practice nurtured in the educational system needs a critical analysis in concert with the global trend of atypical labour. The prevailing internship researches and studies have given prominence to administrative aspects rather than analysing the issues through a critical lens [4].

In the context of the exponentially growing intern economy, this paper seeks to critically analyse the student internships in India, focusing on media studies. This paper explores the dynamics of internship in university education through theoretical and empirical research. It uses the Althusserian concept of ideological state apparatus, and Gramscian thought of hegemony to theorise internship practice during higher education courses. The empirical evidence garnered through the in-depth interviews is utilised to explain internships in media industries, the experience of internees in the industry, and eventually explain how the internship programmes shape the students' consent towards the neoliberal market logic of atypical labour.

Literature Review

Contextualising Student Internships in Neoliberal Regime

Neoliberal policies have resounding ramifications on universities and higher education courses across the world. Application of market logic to public goods is the core idea of neoliberalism. The neoliberal policies have potentially altered the curriculum and course frameworks in higher educational institutions. Einstein (2015) has perceived a new trend where the higher education "marrying curriculum to the market rather than societal needs, i.e., favouring practical skill-based courses over the arts and humanities.

The impact of neoliberalism on higher education is multilayered and found to be touching almost all educational process aspects. Kandiko (2010) has argued that neoliberal policies have comprehensive effects on higher education. It made potential changes in the faculties' roles and responsibilities, the students' learning experience, and the core meaning of higher education to the society. Altbach (2016) perceived that higher education has been facing globalisation's repercussions ever since education included in the General Agreement of Trade in Services (GATS). Currie & Newson has posited that "the globalisation brought the free market into universities but with serious ramifications and significant costs" (1998, p. 6). A significant body of research has evolved around the impact of neoliberal policies on higher education. However, academia has given comparatively less attention to look into the effects of neoliberal policies on the student communities.

A section of scholars has perceived the rise of managerialism in higher education as a ramification of neoliberalism. The managerialism brings the philosophy of private sector such as accountability and vocationalism to higher education courses [5- 7] Einstein (2015) has argued that the universities in the neoliberal regime have become more like corporate organisations, and this change is apparent both in job recruitments and in academics.

The growing trend of mandatory internships in higher education courses is an outcome of these significant shifts in higher education approach and philosophy.

Kandiko (2010) explained that the role of higher education in society varies following the history, culture, structure, and traditions of a nation. The elements such as faculties' functions and responsibilities, students' involvement and experience etc. depend on the nature of each country. With the introduction of neoliberal policies, a global assessment framework has emerged, and the newly emerged knowledge economy moulds it. The global market economy has made significant impacts in the framing of higher education courses, and its general approach to the society, faculty and students. One of the considerable effects of neoliberal policies on higher education courses' curriculum includes the growing trend of vocationalism. Higher educational institutions found to be entertaining market demanded, skillbased specialised courses rather than traditional basic sciences and social sciences. As a result, the practice of internships became an integral part of the higher educational systems [8, 9].

In this context, a critical inquiry into the ramifications of neoliberal policies in higher education becomes relevant in various sociocultural conditions. An investigation in this regard can help us historicise higher education in multiple countries and analyse the effect of neoliberalism in reshaping the core philosophy of education. As an evolving practice, student internships become a relevant framework for understanding the neoliberal underpinnings in higher educational courses.

Transformations in Labour Market and Rise of Intern Economy

Neoliberal policies have been the core of modern-day capitalism, where capital expansion is materialised through globalised liberal markets and pervasive privatisation. One of the significant impacts of neoliberalism is the comprehensive restructuring of the labour market and work execution. Analysing the modern capitalist world, Swidler (2018) perceived that, apart from the traditional wage labour, the capitalist regime of the present day has managed to utilise alternate methods to accumulate surplus value. Supplementing these arguments, Peuter et al. (2015) quote Nathan Jurgenson (2010), "from the capitalist point of view the only thing better than a low paid worker is someone (the consumer as prosumer) who does the work for no pay at all" (p.26). A sudden shift in this regard is the move towards the casualisation work. As the logic of neoliberalism and globalisation find its grip across the world, the casualisation of labour has become a growing trend in the labour market. With this new trend, atypical works with non-standardised working conditions such as freelancing, internship and contract labour have become normalised labour practices [10]. Gollmitzer (2014) explained atypical work as "the work that does not offer income or job security nor health benefits, maternity leave or other benefits attached to permanent jobs".

Media industries across the world have been the potential sites of such labour dynamics. As there is an aggressive thrive among the youth to get into creative industries, a surplus working force has been a privilege for media industries worldwide.

The surplus of potential workers makes the creative sector a highly competitive fray for securing a decent job [11]. As the media industry is becoming aggressively competitive for the newcomers, internships become the only option for the fresher to find a job opportunity. "With this growing trend of unpaid internships, an alternative mini economy of unpaid labour with exposure and experience as the currency has emerged" [12]. Unpaid Internships found to be an extensive form of casual labour which constitute what Perilin (2011) termed as the intern economy. Comer (2016) has argued that "creative industriesencompassing media and communications more broadly- are at the centre of the expanding internship markets" (p. 2). Siebert and Wilson (2013) have perceived that the young professional is more and more engaging in internships hoping that it will help secure a permanent job in the future. "The increasingly uncertain and competitive labour market of the creative industries has normalised the expectation of unpaid work".

Unpaid internships have been a point of discourse and a catalyst for labour outrages in different parts of the world. The growing body of researches on intern economy broadly falls into two aspects. Many researchers have looked into the potential of internships to foster the culture of experience-based learning, thus bringing up potential employers for the future [13-15].However, on another side, the critical studies contextualise internships against the backdrop of expanding neoliberal regime and its covert attempts to appropriate free/ voluntary labour from a vast population [13-16].

The unpaid internship labour affects two groups of labourers. Firstly those who work as interns, and secondly the paid employees of the organisation. While the interns are shamelessly exploited by not paying a wage for their work, the paid labourers are also pushed to a precarious condition as they displace the paid labourers. According to the authors, systemic inequality is being imposed reinforced through the intern economy.

The exponentially growing intern economy has to be analysed in conjunction with the changes in higher education. In fact, the labour market and the higher education have a commingling relationship in the modern world [17-21]. Precarious workers Bridge, a UK based unity of precarious workers, argues that the higher educational institutions such as colleges and universities play a seminal role in normalising the unpaid or precarious labours. [22, 23]. According to Durack (2013) even though the internships open up a new world of practical exposure and community collaborations for the students, the mandatory credit requirements in the curriculum push them to a potentially vulnerable working condition where they are expected to be more obliged to the terms and conditions of the organisation. Hence, the students have conditioned in such a way that the unpaid internships are a standard extension of their academic activities. He explained,

Although some programs require students to complete paid internships, academic internship guidelines are more typically silent on the subject of remuneration, or they simply do not differentiate between paid and unpaid opportunities with regard to earning internship credits [24].

As the student internships entail several ambiguities surrounding the working conditions, labour roles and monetary benefits, this particular area deserves significant academic interventions from a labour perspective. The individual experiences of student internees in media industries and their perception of the prevailing status of internship programmes will help explore the material conditions of the internees in different organisations and explain the social impact of student internships.

Unpaid Internships in Indian Context

India is a thickly populated country with the highest number of the youth population in the world. About 65 per cent of the Indian population fall under age 35 and approximately 50 per cent belong to the age below 25. The growing youth population in the country has a direct impact on the enrolment in schools and colleges. Despite possessing a major share in the population demography, India's youth has been facing severe unemployment for the past three decades [25].

In developing countries like India, the unemployment and underemployment rate among the youth is grossly increasing due to poverty and the competitive pressure from the fastgrowing labour force. Mehrotra& Parida (2018) have perceived a massive unemployment growth among educated youth between 2011- 2018. According to their study, the unemployment rate reached 17.8 per cent in 2018 while it was just 6.1 per cent in 2011. The lack of adequately defined labour market policies and social protection schemes from the governmental level pushes the younger generation to unemployment or work as less paid casual workers [2]. Ravi (2016) has argued that 35 per cent of graduated youth in India are unemployed, and the uneducated youth possess a better life standard than unemployed graduates. According to an observation of Internshala, the fair recruitment of interns in India is a myth. Compared to job vacancies, the internship programs are not advertised or communicated. Hence the recruitment process is more or less informal. Another critical issue about recruitment is that, even though the companies do not have any vacancies or internship programmes, they accommodate interns based on requests. Indeed these recruitments are illegal as the company does not have a provision to accommodate interns.

Since the recruitment of interns itself is illegal, a redressal system to sort out workplace harassment issues becomes a myth. Similarly, the safety of interns is another concern that should be addressed. As the interns do not possess an employee's status, they have not assured insurance or any such securities. Internshala has perceived no proper mechanism or legal framework to make the organisation accountable for ensuring quality training during the internships.

An inquiry into the internship process, issues and concerns become relevant in the Indian context. This paper explores the student internship practices in media industries, laying equal focus on the material conditions of the internees in the media organisations and the scrutiny and guidance from the students' respective educational institutions. This study is premised on the following research questions;

1. How the internship programmes do incorporate in media studies, and what are the students' perceptions of unpaid internships?

2. What are the practices and scrutiny mechanisms of internships?

3. How do the internship programmes shape the consent of the students towards the neoliberal market logic?

Theoretical Framework

Drawing on Althusser (1971), this study conceptualises the student internships as a systemic approach of neoliberal capitalism to produce a reserve army of labourers. Grounding on Marx, Althusser (1971) argued that the reproduction of the conditions for the production lies at the heart of the production. According to Althusser, the reproduction of the conditions for the production happens at two-level. On the one hand, through the reproduction of the means of production and on the other hand, through the reproduction of labour-power. The means of production comprises the material elements of the production such as the capital, instruments, machines and raw materials used for the production. Althusser perceived that the reproduction of the means of production could only be satisfied through an endless chain of production and supply, as the circulation of the capital forms the essential condition for the reproduction of the means. The second precondition for production is the reproduction of labour-power. For Althusser, the capitalists ensure the reproduction of the labour-power through a twofold mechanism. On the one hand by a system of wages where the capitalists make sure that the labour-power of the wage earner is reconstituted with housing, food and clothing, and on the other hand through educating the labour-power to acquire the skill requirements of the capitalist mode of production. Althusser said,

The labour-power has to be (diversely) skilled and therefore reproduced as such. Diversely: according to the requirements of the socio-technical division of labour, it’s different 'jobs' and 'posts' [25].

This paper utilises Althusser's theorisation of modern education for understanding the system of student internships.

According to Gramsci, in a capitalist society, the bourgeoisie holds its class domination through two folded power relations, i.e., coercion and consent. Gramsci perceived that the physical force alone would not be sufficient to assure stable and consistent dominance over the subalterns. Instead, he explained that consent is an effective mechanism to control a larger population as it can subtly reinforce the subordination. Gramsci posited that the bourgeoisie reinforces the prevailing social relations through rule by consent "through the exertion of moral and intellectual leadership". Gramsci explained why the working class willingly accept the subjugation and what makes them nod consent to the bourgeois domination. According to Gramsci (1971), hegemony possesses an affective nature when the subalterns accept the dominant narratives, values and social relations.

This article uses Gramsci's notion of hegemony to understand how the neoliberal market logic establishes hegemony over the job aspiring sections of the society and how their consent is manipulated to work for free willingly.

Methodology

To understand the technicalities of student internship programmes and to explore the internees' experience and perceptions in the industrial atmosphere, this study utilised in-depth interviews as a method for data collection. The interviews were conducted among 24 postgraduate students of different institutional affiliations across India. The internees' affiliated institutes fall into the categories of the public-funded universities, both state and central universities and private universities/ autonomous colleges. The institutions include Pondicherry University (Puducherry), Mangalore University (Karnataka), Kannur University (Kerala), Alvas College Moodibri (Karnataka), Amity University (Jaipur, Rajasthan), Amity University (Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh) and Hyderabad Central University (Telangana). The interviews were intended to dig out how the student internships were dealt with and scrutinised by the university authorities and how it works in terms of working conditions, mentoring and skill development. The institutions and students were selected conveniently based on the researcher's access and convenience of the interviewees.

Different studies that substantiate the significance of interviews to elicit the comprehensive account of subjective experiences stood as the rationale for choosing in-depth interviews as a method of data collection. Ritchie & Lewis (2003) have said that in-depth interviews are the best suited in situations where the researcher intends to explore the respondent's experience in detail. According to them, the in-depth interviews provide immense autonomy to the researchers to garner data and as well as to assign meaning to the collected data. Explaining the significance of in-depth interviews in social science research, Miller& Glassner (1997) said that interviews "provide access to the meaning people attribute to their experiences and social worlds" (p. 100).

The data collected through interviews were thematically coded to track the salient themes of the study, and inputs were thematically analysed.

Analysis and Interpretations

Curriculum, Orientation & Intern Recruitments

While internships found to be a mandatory credit requirement for postgraduate students in universities, the stipulated duration of the internships and departmental scrutiny of such industry exposure varies from institutes to institutes. Some institutes ask the students to do two internships during the course tenure, such as one in the first year and another in the second. In comparison, others keep a guideline that suggests the required number of days as interns to complete the course. However, the internships are recommended to do in between the semester breaks or vacations, which indeed, technically deny a relaxation time for the students. Respondent 1, a student at Alvas College, Moodbidri, Karnataka, complains about the lack of breathing space between the semester breaks as the internships stand as a mandatory responsibility in this period. He explains,We are asked to do two internships during our post-graduation course as one in the first year and another in second. Usually, we are suggested to finish those internships during the summer vacation of the first year and after the final exam of the second year. Though the semester breaks are supposed to be a relaxing vacation for the students, we hardly get a day to get out of the toil of exams. (Respondent 1, Postgraduate Student, Alvas College Moodibidri)

The mandatory credit requirement creates a condition where the students are left with no choice other than compulsorily doing the internships. Respondent 2, a postgraduate student in the Department of Electronic Media and Mass Communication, Pondicherry University, Puducherry, says, while internships remain as a credit requirement, it usually comes as an extra burden during a time which supposed to be holidays after the semester exams.

Our curriculum demands 28- 45 days internship in the media industry. It is a compulsory hard-core with three credits. Even though I am interested in working in the media field, if there were any chance to omit internships during our post-graduation, I would have done it. The sole purpose of doing an internship is certainly the credit requirement. (Respondent 2, Post Graduate Student, Pondicherry University, Puducherry)

However, a section of students has an optimistic approach towards internships as they see it as an appropriate gateway for future career development. The university departments and senior students play a vital role in moulding such an attitude as they explain internship as an opportunity to explore the industrial options and to develop a rapport with the working journalists. Respondent 3, a student of Kannur University explains,

From the beginning of the course itself, our teachers and senior students have said that the internships are the best opportunities to find a placement in future. Hence, we have prepared ourselves to meet the expectations of the industry. (Respondent 3, Post Graduate Student, Kannur University, Kerala)

Respondent 4, a student of Amity University, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, believes internship will help him to find jobs in future. He says,

The internships give clarification on what you learn in the classroom and help to have a realistic feel to execute your bookish knowledge. More importantly, the industry is the place where we can expect to have a career in future. I don't feel anything wrong with doing unpaid internships as it allows us to exhibit our skills in front of our future employers. (Respondent 4, Amity University, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh)

Even though the internships are stipulated as hard-core in the curriculum, students complain of a lacklustre attitude from the mentors in administering proper orientation and in guiding them to choose apt organisations for the internships. Such situations keep the students less informed about the possibilities of internships and the potential issues that they would face in the time of internships. A student of Kannur University, Kerala, complains.

Though 28- 45 days internships are mandatory for our course completion, our department didn't conduct any orientation program to explain the purpose, mode and possibilities. We were having no idea about how to get placed as an intern in an organisation and what are the better ways to be placed. With whatever limited knowledge that we had, we wrote emails to the better-known organisations seeking opportunities. (Respondent 5, Post Graduate Student, Kannur University, Kerala)

Since departmental interventions and monitoring are found to be shallow, more or the fewer internships remain as the sole responsibility of students. Hence, students are left to deal with the risk and rewards of the internships on their own. Respondent 6, a student of Pondicherry University says,

I got the contact number of a senior reporter of Asianet News, a Malayalam News Channel through one of my friends. I directly contacted him and expressed the interest to do an internship. He helped me to complete the recruitment procedure and get in for the internship. (Respondent 6, Post Graduate Student, Pondicherry University, Puducherry)

While some of the institutes send direct letters or emails to the media organisations on behalf of the students, some others provide certificates of affiliation that help the students to seek intern opportunity in media organisations. A student of Mangalore University, Karnataka says,

Usually, our department asks us to give the contact details of three organisations of our choice for sending letters on behalf of us. Once, the department gets the reply, we are directed to choose one institute, and then the department marks us as the intern of that particular media organisation. However, the department has not given any orientation programme or classes on the selection of the media organisation, work execution, rights and regulation pertaining to the internship. (Respondent 7, Post Graduate Student, Mangalore University, Karnataka)

While each institute keeps their own approaches in sending the students for internships, the scrutiny and mentorship pertaining to the recruitment, treatment, and work execution remain comparatively less noticed by the universities.

Working Conditions and Skill Development

As the internships aim to provide practical experience for the students to improve their skills and technical knowledge, the output of such programs need to be analysed against the backdrop of students' feedback. Similarly, the working conditions provided for the students during the internship period should equally be enquired.

The interviews with the student internees show that once the students get into a media organisation for the internship, faculties and department rarely have discussions about the progress and experience of the internship. Based on the course completion note from the organisation and the work report of the students, the experience and the individual performance get analysed after the completion of the programme. Hence, apart from the technicality of an affiliated student in the university, they are more or the less treated as employees of the media organisation by the university and the respective faculties when the students get involved in internships.

The experience of the students during internships are of mixed emotions as some of the institutions give less notice to the internees, whereas others force the students to take up heavy workloads in stipulated time. In both cases, the 'unpaid internee' tag found to be a vital element for a passive or exploitive approach towards the students. Respondent 7 who was an internee in a Kannada news channel says,

There wasn't a particular defined labour role during my internship. I was interested in reporting. But my assigned duty was copy editing as the organisation said they are in need of copy editors rather than reporters. Since it was not a paid internship with proper role directions, I was not in a position to make a request to assign me in reporting. (Respondent 7, Post Graduate Student, Mangalore University, Karnataka)

On a similar note, Respondent 8, who did her internship in a multimedia production company explains,

I had already done an introductory diploma course in multimedia. Hence, I choose to do an internship with the intention of learning the applications of multimedia tools in media production. Unfortunately, what I got to do in an internship was manual works such as copy editing, arranging books and DVDs in the library. Indeed I felt, instead of fulfilling my requirements, the company made use of me to complete their short covering in the office. (Respondent 8, Post Graduate Student, Hyderabad Central University, Telangana).

When the students are assigned to work in undesired sections, they found to be felt discomfort and disappointment. The enthusiasm to acquire new knowledge and the spirit to master technical skills get hindered when the internees are asked to work in the areas which they don't find interesting. Explaining the experience as an intern, Respondent 8 says that she has not acquired the intended skills to excel in future. Instead, she complains of working as an emotionless machine to fulfil the credit requirement as part of post-graduation.

While some of the internees were put in a submissive position in terms of demanding the labour role of their choice, some others were asked to work as if a paid employee with sharp deadlines. Respondent 9, a student at Amity University, Jaipur, and Rajasthan who did his internship with an advertising agency says,

During the internship, we were asked to do several assignments which had strict deadlines. The company has made it clear that the acknowledgement certificate won't be served if we fail to keep up with the expectations. However, we were not paid for any of these assignments. (Respondent 9, Post Graduate student, Amity University, Jaipur, Rajasthan)

Mentoring, Experience and Employability

The internships are touted as an appropriate opportunity for the students to get industry-based practical mentoring from the experts and senior employees. Hence, it is expected that the shortcoming of the university-based theoretical approach can be well compensated with industrial internships. However, the ideal expectations fall short for various reasons in different organisations.

Universities have their own time frame for the completion of internships. Hence, the students do not have an opportunity to apply for the paid internship programs that are notified by the media organisations. The only option left out for the students is to approach the media firms to do unpaid internships voluntarily. In such a scenario, students get to have fewer agencies for stating their requirements and making demands. Explaining the experience as a student intern in an advertising agency, Respondent 10, a student of Kannur University says,

The company has apparently told us that accommodating intern in their organisation is solely on demand of the internees and the company does not have any liability for providing payment, food or accommodation for the interns. Throughout the internship period, we experienced a sense of insecurity as no one is legally liable if we face any problems in the organisation. (Respondent 10, Post Graduate student, Kannur University, Kerala).

The informality of the intern recruitment gives precarious privileges to the organisations to deal with the interns in an absolute informal manner. He explains,

The only document that justifies we were part of an internship is the final acknowledgement certificate. They have not provided any written job directions or code of conduct. All formal communication was through word of mouth. (Respondent 10, Post Graduate student, Kannur University, Kerala).

According to the interviewees, the treatment in the organisation was of mixed emotions. While some of the organisations provided a friendly atmosphere and decent working condition, some others paid little attention to the interns. One of the interns in a language television channel explains.

I cannot say that all the employees in the organisation were friendly and co-operative. There were one or two employees who behaved as if I was there to snatch their job. But I was not in a position to talk to them or complain to any higher authorities. (Respondent 11, Post Graduate student, Hyderabad Central University, Telangana).

Discussion & Conclusions

The stipulated purpose of the student internships apparently points to the neoliberal idea of preparing the upcoming generation for fulfilling the market requirements of the productive labour force. With the mandatory credit requirement, students are left with a dichotomous choice of either endorsing the course framework or letting themselves to lose a tight race for finding a job position. By setting up industry exposure as a mandatory criterion in the curriculum, the universities exemplify Althusser's notion of ideological state apparatus.

According to Althusser, the skill requirements in the capitalist mode of production are met mainly outside the site of production. That is through the capitalist system of education and institutions. Althusser perceived that through the prevailing educational system, the students learn the 'knowhow'- the techniques, elements, scientific and literary culture useful in the capitalist mode of production. Similarly, they learn "the rules of good behaviour"- the manner in which one should perform and behave in the hierarchy of labour and adhere to the frameworks of respect and morality set out by the dominant ideologies.Althusser believed that, apart from the reproduction of required skills, the reproduction of submissive consciousness is also vital for reinforcing the conditions of exploitation. This study proves that the industrial internships teach the students not only the skills required for a future job but also the desired behaviour and hierarchical obligations in the organisation.

Meanwhile, the process of gaining consent from the students to commit unpaid internships starts with the educational institutions itself. The mandatory credit requirement and the mental pressure of being a student in an underemployed social condition make them concede to the market logic of precarious labour. This study substantiates the findings of previous researches which claimed a subjugated position of the job aspirants in India. The drastically increasing unemployment and underemployment have potentially changed the job perspective of graduated youth in the country. The deteriorating conditions have made them concede to the demands of the market for being an unpaid intern. Thus, internships become an ethical issue when it is placed against the unemployment rate of educated youth.

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