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Idasa surveys HIV and AIDS teaching in four South African journalism education institutions

African Democracy Institute Idasa has completed an assessment on how HIV and AIDS and other development issues feature in journalism curricula at four academic institutions in South Africa. Commissioned by UNESCO and implemented by the Governance and AIDS Programme at Idasa (Idasa-GAP), the assessment explored the way in which journalism teaching prepares journalists for covering the content and the nature of development issues including HIV.

The assessment was based on a conceptual approach informed by Idasa-GAP’s experience in developing learning material based on civic-minded approaches for journalism training in eight countries in sub-Sahara Africa: Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Namibia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Based on this work UNESCO commissioned Idasa-GAP to develop a tool to assess the way in which HIV and AIDS is incorporated in journalism curricula. In its proposal to UNESCO Idasa-GAP argued that in terms of curriculum development HIV and AIDS should be explored within a broader context of the relationship between journalists and citizens and the connections to social and developmental issues – HIV and AIDS being one such issue.

The assessment was implemented at UNESCO’s four potential centres of excellence journalism training in South Africa – Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University, Tshwane University of Technology and Walter Sisulu University. At each institution Idasa-GAP conducted semi-structured interviews with at least two faculty members.

The report makes the following recommendations based on the results:
o The link between development (including HIV/AIDS) and the role of journalists in democratic process should be included in curricula in a structured and systematic way.
o Community, community media, commercial media and mainstream media and the links to civic-minded journalism should be clearly defined.
o Civic-minded approaches to journalism could benefit from more collaborative teaching practices and more interaction between students from different journalism institutions
o Journalism educators need specific methodologies and tools to teach civic-minded journalism which feature development themes (including HIV/AIDS)
o Curricula should be deliberate in its efforts to explore ways in which development issues (including HIV/AIDS) could be told in more compelling ways
o The industry should be involved in efforts to explore more civic-minded approaches to journalism
o Interaction with diverse communities should be included in the practice of civic-minded journalism teaching
o Diverse language options and language skills in general should be considered as part of civic-minded approaches to journalism teaching
o Journalism education should be more deliberate in its efforts to make students care about the world and its problems

Author(s) IDASA-GAP
Website 1 (URL) IDASA
Website 2 (URL) Centres of excellence in Journalism Education
Editorial Contact: Jaco du Toit
- Email j.dutoit@unesco.org
Publication Date 02 Apr 2012
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    Updated:02-04-2012 11:11 am