- A new journalism school with a university-level education is giving the press a direction in Mozambique. Less than one year after its establishment in Maputo, the school has proven an important asset to improve the quality of Mozambican media.
Travelling to a foreign country used to be the best option for aspiring journalists in Mozambique to receive professional training. However, the recent introduction of the country's first university-level journalism school has changed its once dire media education situation.
The School of Communication and the Arts at Eduardo Mondlane University (EMU) in Maputo was opened in March 2004. Its journalism programme, which is the cornerstone of the school, is the result of a collaboration with the University of North Texas (UNT). "The idea is to offer classes in Mozambique so students can get a degree without spending so much time abroad," says James Mueller, one of several UNT professors who have taught in Mozambique.
Having quality, university-level education available so close to home has provided enormous savings for the students, both financially and socially. Travelling great distances is no longer a requirement for getting training in the field. Dean of the new facility, Eduardo Namburete, was himself forced to travel to the US to earn one of his journalism degrees.
Mr Namburete and his colleagues have introduced a variety of journalism courses including theory and research methods. Teaching on all aspects of journalism publication has been an important goal for the school. For this reason, courses in management and advertising have also been offered.
- Publications do need more than good writers and editors to survive, and I think we need to help students with business skills as well as reporting and editing, Mr Mueller told 'RAP21', a Paris-based African press network.
One of the primary founders of the School of Communication and the Arts at EMU, Dr Mitch Land, agrees on the importance of teaching these detailed areas of the profession. "Offering practical courses in media management, budgeting, how to achieve economic viability are very much needed in journalism training," he says.
- As we see economic development achieving remarkable success in such places as Ghana, Benin, Gabon and Mozambique, we will see strong media enterprises that will need well trained business men and women to run these outlets, Mr Land told 'RAP21'.
The School of Communication and the Arts would not have been realised without the efforts of Mr Land, Mr Mueller and his colleagues at the UNT. In June 2000, Mr Land began collaborating with Mr Namburete to create a strong journalism program in Mozambique.
This, according to 'RAP21', resulted in the fast track programme that preceded the birth of the School of Communication and the Arts. During the summers of 2001 and 2002, US professors, including Mr Mueller, taught graduate courses in journalism for 11 Mozambican students.
According to Mr Mueller, Mozambican journalism students had an "intense desire to improve their media as a way of improving their country." This desire coupled with the introduction of the new communications school at EMU has made many optimistic about the future of Mozambican press, 'RAP21' reports.
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