The National Universities Commission (NUC) on January 9 announced plans to unbundle mass communication degree into seven separate courses in order to deepen mastery among students and align with global best practices.
Three lessons can be learned from NUC’s recent move. The first is an admittance of the need to audit the courses taught in Nigeria’s universities to ensure they are responding to the needs of the industry. The second is that professors, professionals, and practitioners need to continually work with the Commission to develop appropriate curricular. The third lesson is that no matter how long it takes, change is inevitable.
For two years, regulatory agencies such as the National Broadcasting Commission, and Nigerian Press Council and professional bodies such as the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, Nigerian Insititute of Public Relations and Radio, Television and Theatre Arts Workers Union and practitioners such as the Nigerian Television Authority, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and the MacArthur Foundation have canvassed for this unbundling.
“You will agree that many of these “courses” were not treated in depth. Even when they say you are “majoring” in one, you will find that when you get to the field that you would have scratch your head at certain things. No?,” Taiwo Obe, founder of Lagos-based Journalism Clinic said. “Question remains: who will teach these courses?”
The seven courses include Journalism & Media Studies. This is one of the most popular degrees in mass communication schools across the world. It is more all-encompassing than many other degrees. This is why it is among the most sought-after degrees by candidates who wish to gain a broad knowledge of activities and emerging trends in journalism and media world.
Journalism and Media studies education explores all forms of media, from print to film to digital communications. The programme focuses on mass communication and its effects on the public.
The second is Public Relations which is also one of the most sought-after programmes in media and communication training schools in Nigeria and across the world. Many Nigerian graduates want to major in public relations primarily due to the exciting, prestigious and lucrative nature of this discipline.
The third is Advertising. Advertising is another very popular discipline which most people want to venture into. A degree in this field is a ticket to lucrative, creative career paths in Nigeria and other parts of the world. While you don’t necessarily need a degree to get into this field, a successful career in advertising usually begins with a comprehensive undergraduate education.
Broadcasting is the fourth. Broadcasting relates to distributing audio-visual content to mass audiences via electronic media such as radio, television, and webcasting. Whether you are listening to Political Voices on Dream FM, watching an English Premier League (EPL) analysis on Channels TV or streaming a podcast on Nigeria Info FM, content is being broadcast to you.
The main focus of this course is to engage students in different activities and to hone their skills in radio and television broadcasting. This includes depth knowledge of broadcast journalism and new media interplay in the broadcast world.
Film & Multimedia Studies are the fifth course that has emerged from the unbundling of mass communication. This is a highly technical but very exciting programme which is very popular in higher institutions across the world. Film and Media Studies Degree programme incorporates courses in film history, aesthetics, and theory; theory and practice in television, popular culture, and new media; and all aspects of 16mm film and digital video production, including narrative, documentary, animated, and experimental film.
Students learn the theory, history, and practice of filmmaking and media. Graduates are equipped with relevant skills to adapt to the evolving movie industry in Nigeria, including media practice and business.
Development Communication is the sixth. Higher institutions in Nigeria will be among the few places you can get a bachelor’s degree in Development Communication. What a rare opportunity. Check everywhere, you would notice that this programme is done at the postgraduate level in most schools.
Information & Media Studies is the seventh. Information and Media Studies programme recognises the importance of connecting media theory learned in the classroom to real-world experiences. Most universities already offering this course have it as Information Science and Media Studies degree programme. It is a programme designed to provide a synergy between the study of information as a science and mediated communication as a practice. The programme draws on advances in information technology and its applications in mass media and media studies.