06.02.2013 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Harmonizing the curricula in journalism schools in West Africa

UNESCO Dakar and CESTI (Centre for Studies in Information Science and Technology at University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar) organize a sub-regional meeting to review the curricula for journalism education.

The workshop is taking place on 5-7 February 2013 in Dakar, Senegal. It brings together presidents and deans of schools of journalism from 7 West African countries to revive the debate on the harmonization of curricula in schools of journalism.

Lasting pedagogical challenges

“Two years after the regional meeting on journalism education, we are going to focus on the harmonization of curricula and give priority to pedagogical aspects,” says Jean-Pierre Ilboudo, Chief of Section Communication & Information at UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar.

“For the most part, African schools of journalism are still facing issues related to the lack of legibility and coherence in their pedagogical contents,” he adds.

Adaptable model curricula

In March 2011, journalism schools in French-speaking Africa met in Dakar for a regional meeting on the curriculum for journalism education. This meeting aimed at adapting UNESCO’s model curricula to the needs of African schools.

This model draws up a list of courses to offer and capacities to expect from journalism students. UNESCO started designing this model in 2005 following Member States’ requests.

It also takes into account the social, economic, political and cultural context of developing countries and emerging democracies, insisting on the link between democracy and journalism; hence its adaptability to each country’s specific needs.

Assessing the model’s implementation

“Except for the creation of a network of journalism schools, the 2011 meeting did not lead to finding relevant solutions for the challenges implied by implementing UNESCO’s model,” says Ilboudo. “This week’s meeting is about assessing the state of integration of our model in the schools of the sub-region and managing to harmonize their curricula.”

The objectives of the workshop are as follow:

  • Identify relevant pedagogical contents on the basis of UNESCO’s model;
  • Suggest enriched contents for each year of studies from first year to the Master’s degree, on the basis of each school’s own realities;
  • Bring solutions to obstacles standing in the way of the harmonization of curriculum at the pedagogical, human, technical and financial level;
  • Implement a mechanism of mutualisation for pedagogical and human resources and capacities as well.



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