Friday, February 24, 2017

D.A. Jawo hopes GPU School will contribute to national reconciliation

GPU J-School alumni Adam Jobe, flanked by colleagues Mary Gomez and Zainab Faal, is a winner of the 2015 Technology and Innovation Reporting Award (Photo Credit: M.S.Joof/TNBES/2013)
Gambia’s new information minister said he hopes that the GPU School of Journalism will offer training programmes that will make journalists contribute meaningfully to ongoing national reconciliation and the rebuilding the nation.

“This new government has given firmed commitments to uphold freedom of the press and freedom of expression which of course must be guided by the tenets of good journalism and ethical considerations,” Demba Ali Jawo said on Friday when he presided over the validation of an adjusted curriculum of the school.

“And that is where the need for a well trained media corps comes in,” he said at a local hotel in Kololi in his first official engagement as minister.

The existing curriculum of the school has been improved to bring it in line with the standards set out in the UNESCO model curriculum for journalism studies in Africa.

He promises his ministry's "continuous support" to efforts aimed at capacity building for journalists in the country.

Sang Mendy, coordinator of the GPU School of Journalism, said the previous curriculum offers training in advance journalism only, while the improved version covers certificate, diploma and advanced diploma courses.

“A curriculum review committee was set up to review the distribution and as well add development issues such as human rights, gender, HIV/AIDS, environment, and sustainable development,” he said.
Sasha Rubel, a UNESCO communications specialist in Dakar, said the validation of the curriculum is part of the journalism and media component of a wider governance programme in The Gambia financed by the EU and implemented by UNESCO.

She said quality journalism enables citizens to make informed decisions about their society and their contribution to development. It also works to expose injustice, corruption and the abuse of power.

She said: “But in order to do so, tools (both intellectual and material) are necessary beyond the powerful pen, pencil and paper.

He promises his ministry's support to efforts aimed at capacity building for journalists (Photo Credit: Haddija Jawara/FPI/Feb 2017)

“We hope that the equipment that was provided to the GPU on February 22 at the Gambia National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM) will be the first step in providing these material tools.

“…and that this retreat will be another step in the long history of GPU’s work to promote the technical tools for media professionals in The Gambia to ensure that media contributes to a landscape of sustainable development and prosperity.”

Ms. Rubel said UNESCO would continue to accompanying the GPU to promote trainers on an international level. She said they hope that the GPU will be a model of excellence in journalism on a global level.

Saikou Jammeh, GPU’s secretary general, said the School of Journalism has registered some tremendous achievements over the years.

“Look at all those who are doing very well in the media today, they have all in one way or the other pass through the school,” he said.

He said in the improved curriculum, GPU’s short term courses will be offered under the school so that they become more structured.  

The curriculum is aligned to the UNESCO journalism series and to that of the University of The Gambia.

Several players, including editors, media sector regulators, media policymakers, and journalism consultants, took part in the validation of the curriculum for journalism studies offered by the GPU School of Journalism.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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