Media and information literacy (MIL) competences are particularly important in today’s world. Even though this has been integrated at some levels of education, it has not been given the adequate space, highlighted Mr. Shyqiri Bytyqi, Minister of Education, Science and Technology of Kosovo*. At the Consultations on MIL Policy and Strategy in Kosovo*, supported by UNESCO and the European Commission, Mr. Bytyqi said that having a course on MIL in schools is more than justified given its necessity. In this context, the Ministry could work on including MIL as a selective course in all schools because pupils should have a critical approach to information and media.
Importance of teacher’s training
The Consultations picked up steam at the meeting organized by the Institute for Development Policy (INDEP) on 24 April 2018 with the support of Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Office for Good Governance within Prime Minister Office. The event gathered 45 participants from the governmental and NGO sector, as well as information intermediaries and regulatory bodies. It provided an opportunity for multi-stakeholder discussion about the status of MIL in Kosovo* in terms of policy, strategy, and actions. This consultative meeting paved the way for a roadmap on further MIL development.
Training of teachers on MIL was an important topic of the Consultations. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology acknowledged that teachers are not equipped with MIL competence, thus face a difficulty in teaching MIL beyond a general scope. All participants recognized the opportunities and ways through which teachers’ education on the topic could be improved. One approach is awareness raising on teachers’ involvement as reformers, and cross-cooperation with different universities and institutions. Participants suggested that a MIL framework should be integrated at the earliest stage possible, hopefully at first grades of primary school.
CSOs as watchdogs and promoters of non-formal education
Beyond the educational system, the consultations explored other important topics related to the role of regulatory and self-regulatory bodies on MIL, the international development community, and the media, etc. The participants established that CSOs have mainly three roles in the process of introducing MIL framework in Kosovo*: The role of watchdogs to holdprivate and public institutions accountable; enabling non-formal education on MIL; to undertake new activities such as the exchange of best practices from the region.
Mr. Burim Ejupi, the Executive Director of INDEP, emphasized the significance of presence of governmental bodies at the Consultations. This is, he said, the evidence that the first genuine effort for introducing public policy on MIL has been achieved. He added that INDEP is be committed and engaged to push this agenda further beyond project-related terms.
The consultations are part of other strategic steps in the roadmap for MIL development in Kosovo*. INDEP and governmental partners will jointly consolidate the policy and strategy recommendations and reflect them in a Position Paper. The Office for Good Governance expressed readiness to coordinate institutions and CSOs, as per recommendations from the Position Paper. Mr. Habit Hajredini, Director of Good Governance Office also emphasized the value of an awareness campaign on MIL, for citizens and teachers in particular, to understand MIL concept and to strengthen the cooperation between media and CSOs.
According to Alton Grizzle, the Officer responsible for UNESCO MIL programme, “countries in South East Europe such as Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, and Serbia are poised to be leaders of national MIL policy articulation, with others of their counterparts in the rest of Europe, should the political will and collaboration among stakeholder be sustained.” He noted that similar activities would commence in Turkey in the coming months.
The consultation process on MIL policies and strategies are implemented as part of the EU-UNESCO funded project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey”. This project aims to strengthen media and information literacy, freedom of expression, access to information, and free, independent, and pluralistic media to ensure that journalists and media organizations in South East Europe and Turkey are key drivers for democratic, sustainable and peaceful development in the region. For more information, please contact Alton Grizzle, email@example.com or Tatjana Ljubic, firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Administered by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244.