By Enoch Sithole:
-West African journalism educators, journalists, journalism students, postdoctoral researchers and other media professionals will meet in a virtual symposium on March 30-31 to discuss issues affecting journalism education in the post-Covid-19 digital era.
Supported by the African Journalism Educators Network (AJEN), the symposium is organised by the Centre of Media and Communication Research (CMCR) at the Pan-Atlantic University, in Lagos, Nigeria.
Chairperson of the organising committee, Dr Nelson Okorie, said “the core objective of this event is to promote an agenda to enhance the quality and learning experiences of journalism education in sub-Saharan Africa”. This, he added, was in line with the philosophy and orientation of AJEN. “Moreover, the novelty of this event is to expand the capacity of journalism education in West Africa,” he said.
Dr Okorie said this was the first time that West Africa was holding an event to focus on journalism education specifically. “We have had communication education, and we will talk about the hub, the African Council for Communication Education, and they cover a number of areas that have to do with media, communication, and journalism. However, this is the first time we are having a symposium that has to do with journalism education.”
The event will provide a theoretical and empirical framework for explicating the potential place of journalism education in African society, explained Dr Okorie. Some of the sub-themes of the proposed event are:
- E-learning practices and challenges for African journalism training
- Journalism theories and newsroom realities in Africa
- Journalism training and digital research tools for learning
- Indigenous languages and African journalism training
- Infrastructural challenges and solutions for African journalism training
- Rethinking journalism courses in the post-Covid-19 digital era
The symposium would reflect on the experiences gained from working virtually during the Covid-19 pandemic. It will discuss specific challenges facing journalism education in West Africa. Dr Okorie said the region had Francophone and Anglophone countries and this implied different journalism teaching cultures. He lamented the fact that, so far, only one journalism educator from Cameroon, a Francophone country, had confirmed their attendance, because “we would like to hear from them on how they have dealt with the challenges of working during the Covid-19 pandemic”.
The subcontinent, said Dr Okorie, faces several challenges of infrastructure, as well as poor internet connectivity which makes it difficult to introduce e-learning in a meaningful way.
Journalism education in indigenous languages is another issue that will be discussed at the symposium. Dr Okorie said nearly no West African country had a curriculum that uses indigenous languages, yet broadcasting on radio and television, in particular, was largely conducted in local indigenous languages. “We need to have a conversation about this, because we can’t go on as if there is no problem. This is a big issue for journalism education.”
The symposium expects some 120 participants, who will hear presentations from leading academics in various fields of journalism education.
For more information and to register for the symposium please email firstname.lastname@example.org.