03.09.2012 - Communication & Information Sector

Experts assess UNESCO’s Model Curriculum for Journalism Education

Discussion about adapting journalism education to local conditions was the focus of a UNESCO workshop convened on the eve of the centenary conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Chicago in August.

Seven journalism studies experts debated the value of UNESCO’s Model Curriculum for Journalism Education, which was developed in 2007 and has since been adapted by over 70 journalism training institutions in more than 60 countries. Introducing the discussion, UNESCO programme specialist Fackson Banda said the Model Curriculum had been downloaded from UNESCO more than 12000 times, and it had also been translated beyond the English original into Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Nepali.

He said the Chicago panel aimed to assess lessons learned from the application of the curriculum in diverse cultural contexts, with a view to revising the document and expanding its syllabi to cover data journalism, media sustainability and journalistic safety. Banda added that further discussions would be pursued at the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) scheduled to take placed in Istanbul, Turkey, in October 2012 and the World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC-3) to be held in Mechelen, Belgium, in July 2013.

Speaking on the panel, Ibrahim Seaga Shaw of Northumbria University urged the adaptation of the Model Curriculum in Africa by including a critical history of African journalism informed by the African philosophy of Ubuntu.

Sundeep Muppidi of Hartford University noted that the origins of journalism and journalism education in much of Asia are especially rooted in the colonial period and urged the creation of materials relating to local conditions.

Other panellists were Sonia Virginia Moreira of Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Stuart Adam (formerly of Carlton University, Canada), Rosental Alves of University of Texas at Austin, and Peter Laufer of the University of Oregon.

The event was wrapped up with a roundtable moderated by Amy Schmitz Weiss of San Diego State University on The Future of Journalism Education in Developing Countries. Publication of the discussions is forthcoming.

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