Okunna hails unbundling of Mass Communication, says it is International best practices

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PROFESSOR Chinyere Stella Okunna, first female professor of Mass Communication, has hailed the proposal for unbundling of Mass Communication programme in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.

“This is international best practices,’’ Okunna said during interactive session with newsmen from Anambra State Ministry of Information in her office at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

According to her, the seven new programmes/departments to emerge from the unbundling are Journalism and Media Studies, Public Relations, Advertising and Broadcasting.

Others are Film and Multi-Media Studies, Information and Media and Development Communication.

She noted that the unbundling of the programmes would separate various aspects of Mass Communication to be domiciled in a Faculty, School or College of Communication and Media Studies.

Okunna, a former Commissioner for Information in Anambra, during Governor Peter Obi’s administration emphasised that unbundling would result in phasing out of single B.SC/BA degree programme in mass communication currently on offer.

The former Dean of Mass Communication Department, UNIZIK, noted that it was not the decision of the National Universities Commission, NUC, but those of stakeholders in the various fields of Mass Communication to unbundle the programme.

“The trending thing now in the world is to teach all manner of communication related programmes under a faculty/school or college of communication and media studies.

“Right now in Nigeria the mass communication programme is taught as a single programme.

“Students learn a bit of journalism to work in the newspapers or magazines, a bit of Public Relations, PR, to become PR professionals, and a bit of Advertising to become advertising pros. Others learn a bit of broadcasting to work in the broadcast media. In fact they learn all manner of things, all of them bundled together as Mass Communication,’’ she said.

She, however, noted that at the end of the day the students under mass communication were awarded degrees, such as, BSc or BA at the different faculties in various tertiary institutions across the country.

Okunna said that the unbundling would aim at rallying all communication-related programmes under a faculty to bring an end to the current confusion in Mass Communication field.

“The programme as currently constituted is now referred to as `a jack of all trade and masters of none”.

“This means that one will end up not being experts in any particular area of the programme. Even when you major in broadcasting, you will not get the full knowledge as somebody who studied under a department of broadcasting in the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies.

“The unbundling is a step by step process, if the NUC grants the approval.’’

She, however, urged the NUC not to make the unbundling optional for institutions as some could opt to retain the current programme, instead of upgrading.

“The curriculum has specified the equipment to be deployed for the programmes. It is huge in terms of facilities and personnel. When this is approved, the institutions that are ready can start, while those not ready should close down the mass communications departments until they are ready.

“To bring change in anything is difficult, but after the change people will begin to enjoy themselves and embrace the change,’’ Okunna said.

The professor noted that the unbundling would enable institutions to train real professionals, so that they would have deeper knowledge of particular aspects of communication programmes.

BE

– June 7, 2019 @ 15:55 GMT |

 

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