The Department of Journalism and Communication, Makerere University, with support from the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Building in Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED), is in the process of reviewing its Bachelors and graduate programmes in a bid to respond to the changing needs of the industry.
At undergraduate level, the Department plans to disaggregate the current Bachelor of Journalism and Communication into a Bachelor of Public Relations and Strategic Communication and a Bachelor of Journalism and Multimedia Studies. It also plans to introduce corresponding MA programmes in Corporate and Strategic Communication as well as Journalism and Multimedia Studies. The proposed programmes are intended to equip students with relevant knowledge and skills to deal with the dynamics and complexities of the fast-growing and changing fields of journalism and communication. If approved, the Department will start offering the programmes in the academic year 2018/2019.
On 7th April, 2017, the Department held a consultative meeting with key players in the media industry to further enrich the programmes. The half-day workshop held in the Senior Common Room was attended by among others, senior editors, reporters, public relations practitioners, advertising managers and staff from the Department of Journalism and Communication. Based on their expertise in various fields of communication, participants made several recommendations to further improve the curriculum. They called for, among other things; training of students in principles of management and public policy analysis, extended period of internship for students to acquire more practical skills, guest lecturing; increased use of local references in the teaching and learning process, and a revised mode of examination.
In his remarks, the Head Department of Journalism and Communication, Dr William Tayebwa, emphasized the need to constantly review the curriculum. “As the industry grows, it is incumbent upon the Department to revise the curriculum to respond to the changing needs,” he said.
Dr Tayebwa appreciated the participants for their commitment to the advancement of the profession noting that their invaluable contribution would be incorporated in the curriculum.
Addressing participants, the Principal of CHUSS, Prof. Edward K. Kirumira, reiterated the importance of progamme evaluation. He called for constant engagement of the industry in the training of students. “The industry should be worked into the curriculum. The curriculum should provide opportunity for guest lecturers to expose students to real-world life experiences,” he said. He also called for increased use of Ugandan case studies and appealed to the Department to link the new programmes to the existing ones. “Programmes, for examples language courses, should not be limited because students will practice in different parts of the world,” he noted.
The consultative workshop was convened by Ms Marjorie Kyomuhendo Niyitegeka, Lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Communication, Makerere University.