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Jamaica Broadcasting Commission and UNESCO launch children's media literacy project

25-01-2007 (Kingston)
Jamaica Broadcasting Commission and UNESCO launch children's media literacy project
The Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica, in conjunction with UNESCO, will launch a media literacy project targeting children in primary schools in the country, on 29 January.
During the initial pilot stage of the project selected schools will receive a video recording and support materials for Grade 4 teachers to guide students on how to deal with radio and television content.

A copy of the video and teaching guide produced by the Commission with funding support from UNESCO will be handed over to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Youth at the launch in Kingston.

The Education Ministry had provided the Commission with technical advice on developing the materials so they could easily be integrated into the primary school curriculum.

The course materials help teachers explain to children what types of programming are problematic and why. The teaching materials incorporate data from research conducted in Jamaica demonstrating what types of programming pose a risk to children and why.

Students who complete the course will also be taught how to make informed choices about programming using the Children’s Code for Programming and generally understood rating designations as guidelines.

The testing of the video and guide will be coordinated by the Broadcasting Commission in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Youth and the Joint Board of Teacher Education, which is responsible for teacher-training.

The launch of the project pilot is the first stage of what is expected to be a national media literacy training programme.

The Broadcasting Commission’s commitment to pursuing a media literacy campaign, in conjunction with relevant stakeholders, emerged following the 2004 review of the Children’s Code for Programming.

Training in media literacy helps children take an informed approach when interacting with electronic media or making decisions about what to listen to and watch, especially where parental supervision is absent or inadequate. As all types of media content becomes more easily accessible to audiences of all ages, media literacy is increasingly being seen as an effective approach to help counter the negative effects of electronic media on children.

A study by Maureen Samms-Vaughan of primary-school age children in Jamaica showed they had extremely high exposure to media with potentially harmful content. Of all household possessions in the homes of the children surveyed, television sets were the most commonly reported, exceeding refrigerators and telephones. The overwhelming majority (95.4%) of eleven and twelve year olds sampled had television sets in the homes, while more than half (55.8%) had access to cable or satellite TV.

The study also identified a troubling statistical relationship between large amounts of television watching and learning and behavioural problems.
Related themes/countries

      · Jamaica
      · Youth and ICT: News Archives 2007
      · Information Literacy
      · Information and Media Literacy: News Archives 2007
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