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Why Teach Journalism in Rwanda

There was no school of journalism in Rwanda until the late 1990s.

In a recent report, IMS noted that many observers consider Rwanda’s press mediocre because of its lack of professional training and because journalists do not check their sources of information well enough. Until the journalism school in Butare was created, Rwanda’s journalists were either professionally trained outside Rwanda or trained “on the job” with a few seminars and workshops to improve their skills.

The School of Journalism and Communication was founded in 1996 at the National University of Rwanda. The curriculum was very theoretical and focused on the role of the media. Little practical training was provided to early graduates.

In 2000, the school changed its name, its goals and its program of study to better reflect the changing world of communication and to be more in step with the needs of the country, especially since Rwanda was emerging from the aftermath of the genocide.

The revised curriculum launched in October 2000 is built around a four-year program and emphasizes more practical aspects of training future journalists. But the school still has problems attracting and retaining teachers.

The Carleton-NUR project seeks to tap into Canadian expertise, among career journalists and journalism educators, to provide NUR with consistent access to visiting journalism faculty who could help to deliver courses that are in line with NUR’s existing curriculum and also help to develop new courses.

We are keeping the rotations short - at eight weeks - to involve the maximum number of participants. We envision that some teachers may well return for a second rotation, or even consider a longer term teaching position at NUR.

    © 2006 Carleton University School of Journalism and Communication DESIGN: SMDESIGN