Journalism education in Africa

© Rhodes University

UNESCO’s support for journalism education in Africa is underpinned by a strong conviction that professional journalistic standards are essential to a media system that can foster democracy, dialogue and development. By disseminating information to citizens, the news media enables citizen participation in development and strengthens accountability feedback mechanisms.

Many African journalism education institutions today do not have the resources to develop a learning environment that is able to address their needs. UNESCO has heeded the call from teachers and students alike to build the capacity of journalism schools to enhance the skills and competencies of the next generation of African journalists.

Dr George Nyabuga. School of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Nairobi (Kenya)

“Quality education empowers student not only to acquire the knowledge and competences necessary for the collection, analyses, interpretation and packaging of information but also to understand the consequences of that information and their actions on society.

Eugénie Aw-Ndiaye. Centre d’études des sciences et techniques de l’information (CESTI) (Senegal)

“Pertinent, well-presented information in all fields builds the capacity of people to take decisions that affect their lives, to make the best choices and to better apprehend major social, cultural, economic and political issues.”

Under UNESCO’s “The Need for Quality Journalism Education in Africa: Building Centres of Excellence in Africa” initiative, the most promising journalism education institutions in Africa are being supported to become centres of excellence in journalism education by improving staff training, curricula, learning materials, media resource centres, networks and management skills.

  • Curricula: Implementing UNESCO’s model curricula and improving assessment systems
  • Staff training: Building capacities of teaching staff through training and exchange programmes with other universities.
  • Learning materials: Making textbooks available in national languages and improving access to learning materials.
  • Media Resource Centres: Providing adequate equipment and technical facilities for training in new and traditional media.
  • Management: Enhancing institutional governance, sustainability and the involvement with the media sector.
  • Media monitoring: Improving capacities to monitor media sector development.
  • Networking: Creating networks between regional, national and international journalism education institutions and media.

Americo Xavier. Mozambican School of Journalism (Mozambique)

Mozambican School of Journalism is working since 1977. Trained journalists from this pioneering school are working for media companies public and private. As a result, the quality of content has improved significantly and their contribution for the public debate plays an important role in the country.

In its efforts to broaden the support base for the network of journalism schools involved in the initiative, UNESCO is seeking partnerships to implement this initiative. As such, the idea was introduced to the 27th Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) in March 2010, which mobilises international support in favour of media development in developing countries. Cooperation has also started with several journalism institutions to encourage North-South as well as South-South cooperation.

In addition, a special agreement meant to enhance journalism training on science and technology was signed between The African Union Commission (AUC)’s Human Resources Science and Technology Department and UNESCO to contribute to journalism training particularly on science and technology by “focusing on the potential Centres of Excellence and Reference”.

Adberrahim Sami. Institut supérieur de l'information et de la communication (ISIC) (Morocco)

“In Morocco, the question of training is today at the heart of efforts to improve standards in the national media sector. Quality training generates quality media, and such media are indispensable for the building and consolidation of democracy”.

The project design dates back to 2007 when UNESCO, in response to numerous requests from Member States, published the Model Curricula for Journalism Education. At the same time, UNESCO developed a framework for assessing the quality of journalism training institutions in Africa. The resulting publication Criteria and Indicators for Quality Journalism Training Institutions: Identifying Potential Centres of Excellence in Journalism Training in Africa, identified what were to become potential centres of excellence in journalism education in africa.

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