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UNESCO is assisting China in journalism education reform

16-01-2009 (Beijing)
UNESCO is assisting China in journalism education reform
Cover of the Chinese translation
of UNESCO's Curricula
The International Centre for Communication Studies at the Tsinghua University, the leading higher education establishment of China, hosted the First Symposium on Global Journalism Education Reform from 19 to 21 December 2008.
It gathered experts from 33 journalist schools including deans of the most influential journalist faculties, as well as political leaders from the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the Journalism Education Committee of the Ministry of Education.

The Chinese translation of the UNESCO Model Curricula for Journalism Education was handed over to every participant. It was introduced by Prof Li Xiguang, Executive Dean, School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua, and served as a basis for further discussions on the reform of journalism studies in China.

Participants were unanimous about the need for reform which will allow future media practitioners to keep pace with rapid social transformation at home and abroad. Mr Zhai Huisheng, Party Secretary, All-China Journalists' Association, indicated that journalism education should impart a comprehensive worldview to budding journalists. Prof. Ma Shengrong, Director of the Journalism School, Chongqing University, proposed to adjust the journalism faculty structure, reinforce research, compile and publish good textbooks and strengthen practical field work for students. In his view, a regular rotation among university professors and frontline practitioners in media outlets could be another good practice.

The Symposium was co-organized by the Tsinghua International Centre for Communication Studies/School of Journalism and Communication, the UNESCO Office in Beijing and the US-China Education Trust (USCET). The latter is a private non-profit organization founded in 1998 by Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, who invited Symposium participants to take part in the USCET Media Fellows Programme and the Media Education Consortium currently in formation.

Mr Singh, Director of the UNESCO Office in Beijing, expressed UNESCO’s concern about the quality of journalistic work, as it moves from a journalism of verification to a journalism of assertion. He invited the participants to have a close look at the Chinese version of UNESCO’s Model Journalism Curricula translated by the Symposium organizers.

The joint efforts by Tsinghua and UNESCO are intended to facilitate nation-wide consensus on methods to harmonize journalism education. Thus, the National Journalism Education Committee composed mainly of deans of journalism schools has been set up. The Committee is expected to validate the findings of national consultations on the Curricula and lead the process of introducing a pertinent unified journalism education model in China. In doing so, the Committee will take full stock of the survey on training needs in provincial media institutions that is being conducted concurrently with the distribution of the Chinese translation of the Curricula to more than 800 journalism schools.

The Symposium at Tsinghua succeeded in launching a complex reform process; the road towards new journalism education model at the scale of China is long and fraught with challenges. In order to implement the second stage of the project, the Tsinghua University has applied to the UNESCO International Programme for Development of Communication (IPDC) and is actively looking for partnerships both nationally and internationally.
UNESCO is assisting China in journalism education reform Prof. Li Xiguang introduces the Chinese translation of UNESCO's Curricula.
© International Centre for Communication Studies, Tsinghua University

Related themes/countries

      · China
      · Training of Media Professionals
      · News Archives: 2009
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