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Stakeholders brainstorm on new curricular for communication, journalism students

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Dr. Túndé Akanni of LASU Sch. Of Communication; Dr. Akin Akngbulu of Institute of Media and Society, (IMS), Lagos and Dr. Jide Jimoh graduands at the doctoral convocation ceremony held at the University of Ibadan.

As part of efforts aimed at better practice in the field of communication and journalism, the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN) last week held a two-day workshop sponsored by UNESCO to review the existing curricular in institutions where communication and journalism courses are being taught.

At the gathering were communication and journalism teachers and practitioners, regulators that included Nigeria Press Council (NPC), National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE). After the opening formalities, five committees were created to look at the existing courses in line with segment of the communication and journalism fields.

The committees were Integrated Marketing Communication, Broadcast journalism, Development Communication Studies, Print Journalism and Multi-media/Cinematography. After each committee concluded what it felt should be the new curriculum for each segment of the communication and journalism fields, the committees were collapsed and the entire house critiqued the outcome submitted by each committee.

The Chief Strategist of Touchstone, a marketing communication firm, Mr. Tunde Ojo, who was one of the field practitioners invited to provide insight, said that the review of the curricular is a very timely one.
“Digitalization and internet is changing everything, especially our area of focus, which is communication. And we must plug in and should be at the cutting edge of that wave, by those who design the curriculum and those of us who are in practice.”

He said that the programme offers a great opportunity to move the teaching and practice of communication from what it used to be to the new trend. Speaking further, he said, in the past, the universities were more experienced but current development is showing that those on the filed, the universities will need to catch up.

To ensure that the gap between town and gown is not wide to create a disconnect between the graduates being churn of the universities and the market place realities, he enjoined communication schools not to shy away from engaging those who are in practice.
“Also, the people in practice must also be sincere enough to know that practice should be with an integration of theoretical framework. Practice must embrace theory and theory must embrace practice. It is at that point you can have effective value delivery.”

He suggested that review of curricular should be a continuous one. “Universities must not just throw their students out for internship but they should ensure that their curriculum involves bringing people who are on the field to share their experience. And with that, what the students are taught is relevant to market place realities,” Ojo said.

UNESCO funded the workshop, and the National Programme Officer, Education, UNESCO Regional Office, Abuja, Dr. Muhammad Alkali, said that in developed clime, review of curriculum is done almost after every semester, but in Nigeria it takes some time.
“These call for change. However, UNESCO has developed a draft of what it felt should be a better way to doing journalism and communication in Nigeria. So, we are looking at UNESCO curriculum, NUC and NBTE curriculum, consider the gaps, with a view to catching up with global terrain”

Secretary General of ACSPN, Prof. Nosa Owens-Ibie, said his association got involved in the review because stakeholders need to rally round the NUC on the ideal curricular.
“The gap between town and gown may be attributed to the fact that the realities had not been factored into what is taught. That is the reason this has to remain a continuing activity and, as an association, we are committed to working with various stakeholders to ensure this happens”.


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