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Journalism Education in Myanmar Gets a Big Boost

12 September 2013, Yangon: A lot of exciting news is coming from the Department of Journalism of the National Management College, Myanmar’s only academic institution offering a journalism program.

Department of Journalism, National Management College

A Bachelor of Arts in Journalism program was recently prepared, envisioned to replace the current curriculum introduced in 2007. The preparation of the proposed curriculum was spearheaded by Prof. Yvonne C. Chua, who was commissioned by the NMC through the UNESCO Participation Programme. The curriculum was prepared after an in-depth study of the existing program and consultations with relevant stakeholders including NMC journalism teachers and journalists. 

Prof. Chua has over 30 years of journalism practice and teaching and training experience in the Philippines and other Asian countries. She was part of the team of journalism educators who prepared model syllabi for the UNESCO Model Curricula for Journalism Education.

The proposed curriculum is competency-based; it aims to develop concrete knowledge and skills every NMC graduate should be equipped with in order to effectively engage in the journalism profession. It also addresses the competencies needed by the news media sector as identified through interviews with editors and senior journalists and a content review of newspapers and broadcast news programs.

Another salient feature of the proposed curriculum is that it has been benchmarked against the UNESCO Model Curricula for Journalism Education. It is now fully compliant with the Model’s proposed three tiers—basic, advanced and specialized journalism courses—in all media platforms from print and broadcast to online media. The journalism curricula of neighboring ASEAN countries were also reviewed prior to the finalization of the NMC curriculum.

Among the proposed new courses are Journalism and Society, Media Laws, Journalism Ethics, Writing News in English, and Translation for Journalists. New specialized courses include Reporting Diversity, Economics and Business Reporting, and Public Affairs Reporting. Production courses are specialized, covering Newspaper Journalism, Radio Journalism, TV Journalism, Magazine Journalism and Interactive Journalism.

The revised curriculum will be submitted to the NMC Board of Studies and shall later be forwarded to the Academic Senate of the University of Yangon. The NMC is an affiliate of the University.

The curriculum revision is one of the strategic activities included in a comprehensive work plan to strengthen journalism education at the NMC. Prepared early this year by the Department of Journalism with UNESCO Media Development Specialist Ramon R. Tuazon, the work plan serves as a roadmap, identifying needed interventions in capacity development of teachers, acquisition of latest journalism books and other references, and upgrading of equipment and facilities, among others. The plan also includes inviting practicing journalists to strengthen its faculty lineup.

Meanwhile, teachers and students are encouraged to attend ongoing journalism training courses offered by many development partners. NMC Principal Dr. Than Win announced that an electronic newsroom will soon be set up to serve as a laboratory for the students. The latest journalism books will also be acquired with support from UNESCO and other partners. A distinct library for the Department of Journalism is envisioned as well.

As the pioneer in journalism education in the country, the NMC Department of Journalism seeks to play a key role in the continuing dynamic changes in the Myanmar media landscape.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Ramon R. Tuazon, Media Development Specialist, UNESCO Yangon