Mass Communication wasn’t phased out, only unbundled – NUC

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The National Universities Commission (NUC) said it has unbundled Mass Communication programme in universities into seven separate degree programmes.

The commission said this was done to meet the growing demand. The development is expected to take effect from 2020 admissions into Nigerian universities.

The Director of Corporate Affairs of the Commission, Ibrahim Yakassai, in a phone interview on Wednesday night, said the commission unbundled mass communication by breaking it into seven programmes.

“We did not phase mass communication out,” he said.

According to him, mass communication will still be still a course for universities but any university who wants to offer specialised courses can do so in
Public Relations
Advertising
cinematography
broadcasting
film and multimedia studies,
development communications studies, information and media studies as degree courses.

“We have unbundled means we have broken it into seven-degree programmes for universities wishing to adopt it, but, those who wish to retain mass communication as it is, are also allowed to retain it.

“This is in line with trends all over the world. We will retain the Mass Communication for those universities that have not yet developed the full competencies in the areas.”

In February 2019, a document containing a new curricula for communication studies in Nigerian universities, which seeks to unbundle mass communication and create seven-degree awarding departments to be domiciled under a School/College of Communication in its place, was presented to the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Abubakar Rasheed, in Abuja.

While receiving the document, the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Abubakar Rasheed said a review of the mass communication curriculum was long overdue and promised to expedite action in the process of finalising and adopting the curricula.

Experts react

A media Career Development Specialist, Lekan Otufodunrin, on Thursday said the unbundling of mass communication is a good idea but there is need to have qualified persons teach the new courses.

“I think it is a good development, considering that the media industry which the graduates are being prepared for, is no longer what it used to be. For me what is important is not just the policy but the availability of necessary qualified persons to teach the courses. What the unbundling will do is that it will offer the students focused training in a specialised field of their choice,” he said.

He said the curriculum must place more emphasis on practical teaching of the courses with more engagement of professionals who operate in the relevant sectors. There must also be more interface with the different speciality to make the unbundling worthwhile, he said.

In his reaction, the executive director of International Press Centre, Lanre Arogundade, described the unbundling as a “fait accompli and any comments now may seem like an academic exercise.”

He said the unbundling does not answer all questions.

“So if we have Journalism and Broadcasting as separate degree programmes, are we saying broadcasting is not part of journalism?

“I had thought that instead of the unbundling, the names of the erstwhile Mass Communication departments could have been modified to read Mass Communication and Journalism as a way of emphasising that Mass Communication does not necessarily equate Journalism. Graduates can then proceed to specialise in advertising, public relations, etc, say at Masters level,” he said.

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