The Association of African Universities (AAU) has started a new workshop series on Journalism and Media Studies in response to demands by some stakeholders for attention to be paid to this area. Looking at the needs analysis report, the AAU, through its Workshops Unit, realized that offering such a workshop would yield an opportunity to reconfigure and rejuvenate Journalism and the associated specialized areas degree programmes offered in African Higher and Tertiary Education.
Through the AAU Workshops Coordinator, Dr Violet Makuku, an arrangement was made with Dr. Stanford Mukasa, based in the United States of America (USA) to roll out the workshop series from the 5th of August 2021 to the end of October 2021. Dr Mukasa is highly experienced in this field of study and has worked with many countries around the globe. He retired from The University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, USA where he taught Journalism and Media Studies for Africa for more than 10 years. He also taught the same discipline online to Somalis and other African countries. The initial cohort of participants was drawn from several African countries including Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Cameroon, Tanzania and Kenya, among others. The number of participants at the sessions has increased from just 20 to more 150 participants and continues to rise.
Each workshop series is punctuated by at least an exercise that participants do within the two (2) hours allocated to the workshop. The highly interactive sessions also give the participants opportunities to ask questions and make contributions that are very helpful and useful to almost everyone. Participants testified that the information provided during the session was spot on, and highly enlightening. Participants from hard sciences and STEM disciplines, who initially thought that the workshop was meant for those in humanities, journalism and related areas, also testified that the workshop was equally relevant to them. They realized that they could improve their writing and communication skills through the workshop. They also noted that they could add value to the published scientific journal articles through featuring them in a layman’s language for the benefit of students and the society at large. They also learnt a lot about the nature and structure of different pieces of writing depending on where and when they would be publish, as well as the readership.
“The workshop series came in handy at a time when we started a radio station not long ago (beginning of 2021). The radio station has proved to be an effective and moderate means to reach out to students, given the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic”, said Ms. Tsitsi Gate from the Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE). She added that the workshop series will go a long way in supporting those operating the radio station in their university with more knowledge and skills.
It is highly commendable to note that there are a number of Higher Education institutions in Africa which have such radio stations, and thus will benefit greatly from this workshop series through their participation. These institutions include but are not limited to the University of Kisangane (Democratic Republic of Congo), Great Zimbabwe University (Zimbabwe), University of Ghana (Ghana), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Reedemers’ University (Nigeria), University of Ilorin, 2009 (Nigeria), Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, 2015 (Nigeria) Ho Technical University (Ghana), University of Namibia (Namibia), University of Ibadan (Nigeria), and Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.
In addition, there are African Universities which are already offering degree programmes in Journalism and Media Studies and these include but are not limited to Ghana Communication Technology University, Ghana; The Great Zimbabwe University, Zimbabwe and The Ghana School of Journalism. South Africa alone has got numerous universities which offer programmes in Journalism, Communication and Media Studies including The University of Pretoria, University of Johannesburg, University of Cape Town, University of Witwatersrand, among others. In East Africa, The Tanzania Open University also offers similar programmes online while in West Africa, institutions like the Ghana School of Journalism in Ghana, University of Ilorin and Mountain Top University, Nigeria, also offer programmes in Communication, Journalism and Media Studies though they are named differently. All these institutions will definitely benefit immensely from the international flavour, brought in by the facilitator, Dr. Mukasa, as well as contributions by fellow participants attending the workshop sessions from different countries, which they can blend with their own. This can be through curricula review, designing of new related curricula through the enlightenment that the workshop series would bring. The workshop series is meant to also generate information that can result in students and staff exchange programmes. Furthermore, the AAU hopes that besides the workshop facilitation, some meaningful partnerships may also be birthed through this activity. Additionally, the workshop series will enlighten the African Higher Education stakeholders in this area and urge them to catch up with the rest of the world in Journalism and Media Studies.
The AAU remains committed to continue to contribute towards better quality education as spelt out in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on Quality Education. Institutional workshops in this speciality and others, can also be organized for whole departments, faculties, students and academic support staff based on their requests. The advantages of such workshops include but are not limited to mass training for a shared vision and total empowerment of large groups of personnel. It is also more affordable without travel and accommodation costs for many participants. Moreover, the institution can start implementation soon after the workshop due to the capacity building and development of a large number of personnel who can combine their efforts and share tasks associated with the implementation of action plans. Furthermore, given the international nature of the workshops that the AAU organizes, such platforms readily promote the sharing of ideas, networking and collaborations that can assist institutions to move to the next level. All higher education institutions are encouraged to join the next sessions of this workshop by registering through this recurrent link:
The workshops series is running every Thursday from 14. 00Hrs GMT (Ghana time),
17.00Hrs East African Countries Time,
Please refer to GOOGLE to determine the corresponding local time based on your location.