Awka – Prof. Chinyere Okunna, a lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, has expressed support for the call by stakeholders for the unbundling of Mass Communication programme in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
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Okunna made her position on the issue known in an interview with newsmen in Awka on Friday.
“Unbundling Mass Communication into seven new programmes and departments is in line with international best practices,’’ she said.
She said 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.
According to her, the seven new programmes and departments that should result 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.
Okunna, a former Commissioner for Information in Anambra under former Gov. Peter Obi, said that the unbundling would lead to phasing out of single Bachalor of Science (B.Sc.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in mass communication.
She said that it was not the decision of the National Universities Commission (NUJ) but those of stakeholders in the various fields of Mass Communication to unbundle the programme.
She said: “The trend in the world now is to teach all manners of communication-related programmes under a faculty, school or college of communication and media studies.
“Right now in Nigeria, mass communication 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 executives.
“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.”
Okunna said that at the end of the day, the students under mass communication would be awarded degrees, such as B.Sc. and B.A.
She 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 master of none’.
“This means that one will end up not being an expert 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.
“The unbundling is a step by step process, if the NUC grants the approval,’’ she said.
She urged 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 said that the unbundling would enable institutions to train real professionals, so that they would have deeper knowledge of particular aspects of communication programmes. (NAN)