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NBTE unbundles Mass Communication program, shifting focus from generalists to specialists

The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has initiated the unbundling of the Mass Communication Programme in Nigeria, marking a transformative shift from a generalized approach to a specialized curriculum.
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The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has initiated the unbundling of the Mass Communication Programme in Nigeria, marking a transformative shift from a generalized approach to a specialised curriculum.

The move, spearheaded by the NBTE, aims to enhance career opportunities for graduates, foster skillful specialization, and cultivate a workforce primed for employment.

The decision to unbundle the Mass Communication Programme was formalized during a workshop convened by the NBTE at the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri, Imo State, in July 2022. Attended by representatives from 18 institutions, as well as key stakeholders such as the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the workshop laid the groundwork for this transformative initiative.

Under the new framework, the Mass Communication Programme will no longer award certificates as Higher National Diplomas (HND) in Mass Communication. Instead, graduates will have the opportunity to specialise in three distinct areas: Strategic Communication and Media Studies, Journalism and Media Studies, and Film and Multimedia Production. These specialised tracks offer students a focused pathway to develop expertise in specific domains, aligning with global best practices in technical education.

This paradigm shift represents a departure from the traditional model, where graduates were trained as generalists expected to master multiple disciplines within the field of Mass Communication. By streamlining the curriculum into specialized tracks, students can now pursue areas of interest tailored to their career aspirations and professional goals.

Furthermore, the unbundling initiative extends beyond the purview of the NBTE, as the National University Commission (NUC) has also announced plans to unbundle the Mass Communication Programme at the undergraduate level. This move will see the emergence of seven separate courses, including Journalism and Media Studies, Public Relations, Advertising, Broadcasting, Film and Multimedia Studies, Information and Media Studies, and Development Communication Studies.

The decision to unbundle the Mass Communication Programme reflects a recognition of the challenges posed by an integrated curriculum that expects trainees to master a diverse array of disciplines. This shift towards specialization aims to address concerns regarding the employability and preparedness of graduates, ensuring that they possess the requisite skills and expertise demanded by the evolving media landscape.

While commendation is due to Professor Idris Mohammed Bugaje and the NBTE management for spearheading this initiative, the task of implementation remains paramount.

The successful execution of the unbundling policy hinges on widespread compliance among institutions offering Mass Communication and related programmes. It is imperative that the NBTE takes proactive measures to ensure adherence and secure necessary support from stakeholders, including the Tertiary

Education Trust Fund (TETFund), to facilitate the smooth transition and execution of the unbundling initiative.

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