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UNESCO’s compendium of new syllabi on journalism education presented in Guyana

UNESCO’s Model Curricula for Journalism Education: A Compendium of New Syllabi, which helps empower media training institutions to provide specialized journalistic skills, was presented to the University of Guyana on 18 November 2013 at a symposium organized in Georgetown.

In July 2013, UNESCO launched ten new specialized syllabi on journalism education to fill a gap for special expertise subjects in journalism education and training. The topics in the compendium include outlines for programmes in: media sustainability, data mining, intercultural dialogue, global communication, humanitarian crisis, human trafficking, community participation, science and bioethics, as well as gender inequality.

The new publication builds on the original UNESCO Model Curricula developed in 2007 and adapted, since then, in over 60 countries. The compendium was presented by Hara Padhy, UNESCO Advisor in Communication and information in the Caribbean.

The symposium, which was moderated by Carolyn Walcott, Head of the Centre for Communication Studies at the University of Guyana, explored the possibilities of the adaptation of new syllabi by the Centre. Twenty-five participants consisting of faculty members, journalists and representatives from journalists’ associations and media industries attended the event.

The University of Guyana had adapted UNESCO’s Model Curricula for Journalism Education in 2009. The symposium reviewed the challenges and experiences of this adaptation. It also highlighted the way forward.

Stressing the successful adaptation of the Model Curricula since 2009, Dr Paloma Mohamed, Dean of the School of Social Sciences, University of Guyana, underlined the qualitative and quantitative improvements in the journalism education and the employability of its product in the news industries of Guyana. Looking at the strong absence of specialized journalism courses at the Centre, she expressed the hope that the new compendium could provide important tools and guidance for new specialized courses for students.

Alexis Stephens, a faculty member from the Centre reviewed the compendium and presented a matrix in terms of level of the courses and their relevance, challenges of the adaptation and actions to be taken by the Centre to realize this adaptation.

The symposium decided to integrate some of the courses listed in the compendium in the postgraduate degree and professional training programme for journalists in collaboration with UNESCO in the next few years.