16.05.2008 -

UNESCO supported children's media literacy project completes its initial stage

The initial pilot stage of a project launched in 2007 by Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica and UNESCO to train children in media literacy has now been completed. Testing of the project material involved 910 students in 10 schools. The results of the findings and lessons learnt will soon be made available on the Caribbean Network of Information/Media Literacy Clubs website.

In 2007, the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica and UNESCO joined together to launch a media literacy project geared toward children in primary schools in Jamaica. The project, which is welcomed and supported by the Ministry of Education, is premised on the notion that training in media literacy helps children take an informed approach when interacting with electronic media or making decisions about what to listen to and watch, especially where parental supervision is absent or inadequate.


The Joint Board of Teacher Education has completed testing of the project material in a pilot involving 910 students drawn from upper primary grades (4-6) and secondary grades (7-9) in 10 schools. The testing was incorporated into final year teaching practice within three teachers' colleges. Details of the findings, lessons learnt and recommendations that emanated from the pilot will soon be announced and available on the Caribbean Network of Information/Media Literacy Clubs website being developed. Further action around the programme will be informed by recommendations arising from the pilot.


School-based interpersonal communication, video and printed materials are at the centre of this effort to guide primary school students on how to approach radio and television content with a critical stance. During the initial pilot stage of the project, selected schools received a video recording and support materials - for grade 4 teachers. The course materials are designed to help teachers explain to children what types of programming are problematic and why, incorporating data from research conducted in Jamaica. Students who complete the course are also taught how to make informed choices about programming; this process involves using the Children's Code for Programming and rating designations as guidelines.


One study, cited by UNESCO, indicated that primary-school age children in Jamaica have high exposure to media with potentially harmful content. This study showed that 95.4% of 11 and 12 year olds sampled had television sets in the homes, and more than half had access to cable or satellite TV. The study also identified a statistical relationship between large amounts of television viewing and learning and behavioural problems.

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