Communication scholars and media industry experts have called for change in the mass communication curriculum to adequately equip communication graduates with knowledge and skills critical for functioning in the contemporary media workspace and for driving national development.
The call was made at the inauguration of executives and lecture of the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN) Enugu State Chapter, with the topic, “Marketing Communication in the Digital Media Age: Need to Review, Reload and Rejig our Educational Curriculum for National Development,” according to a press release signed by Dr. Chukwudi Anyianuka, Secretary, ACSPN Enugu State Chapter.
Professor Stella Okunna, Member, ACSPN Board of Trustees and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Paul University, Awka, chaired the inauguration.
She expressed joy and satisfaction with the activities of the Chapter since it joined the national ACSPN train, and charged members to remain focused on implementing the vision and mission of the association.
Delivering the lecture, Mr. Ike Ezugwu, a veteran advertising practitioner and Managing Director, Hillheights Media Solutions Limited, stressed that the business of advertising and public relations is rapidly migrating from the industrial to digital media platforms, as target audiences are now netizens that rarely patronize hardcopy publications.
“This has necessitated the acquisition of digital media skills, requiring an immediate review of the educational curriculum and proper funding of communication education, to ensure that skills of mass communication graduates are honed along this line,”he said.
Mr. Uche Anichukwu, senior special assistant, Media Relations to Enugu State Governor and a guest at the event, acknowledged the paucity in education funding in Nigeria, stating that it justifies Enugu State’s decision to spend 30% of the 2024 budget on education.
According to him, “Governor Peter Mbah should be commended for this bold unprecedented initiative. It demonstrates government’s intent to equip schools, improve the teaching and learning environment and enable the training and retraining of teachers to impart the right knowledge and skills on students, including that of our communication students.”
In his remark, Mr. Okey Odogwu, Managing Director, Dream 92.5 FM, Enugu, noted that the broadcasting sector was facing a crisis due to the rise of digital journalism, which has resulted in the massive layoff of staff in the industry.
In his words: “We are struggling in the broadcast media and no longer make money. We no longer get jingles because of the bad economy. Firms are also struggling and now placing their advertisements mainly on social media.”
Other guests who spoke at the programme were, Dr. Hilary Ozoh, Communication Specialist at UNICEF, who commended the association and urged it to fulfill its mandate of maintaining a synergy between communication scholarship and practice, and Dr. Reuben Onyishi, Senior Special Assistant, New Media to Enugu State Governor, who observed that digital media journalism had been populated by charlatans, and advised practitioners to take their communication skills seriously and maintain ethical standards when deploying digital media tools for content creation.
The highlight of the event was the inauguration, oath taking and pledge of allegiance of the newly elected eight-member strong executives, administered by Barr. Chizoba Agbo, Public Relations Officer, African Women Lawyers Association, Enugu State.
The newly inaugurated executives who will drive the growth of the Chapter in its embryonic years are: Professor Linus Ogbuoshi – Chairman, Dr. Ferdinand Obasi – Vice Chairman, Dr. Chukwudi Anyianuka – Secretary, Dr. Helen Nwachukwu – Assistant Secretary, Dr. Samuel Ezema – Treasurer, Dr. Elijah Efetebor – Financial Secretary, Barr. Casey Aniugbo – PRO and Mrs. Adaeze Akubuilo – Welfare Officer.
Professor Ogbuoshi, in his speech promised to work with his team and members of the chapter, and partner with the State Government and UNICEF to design and implement programmes that would bridge existing communication gaps critical in driving national development.
Several communication scholars and practitioners attended the inauguration.
Among whom were, Dr. Odogwu Emeka Odugwu, Chairman Nigerian Union of Journalists, Anambra State Chapter, Mr. Magnus Eze, Southeast Bureau Chief, Sun Newspaper, Mrs. Maureen Atuonwu, Southeast Zonal Director, News Agency of Nigeria and erstwhile Chairperson Nigerian Association of Women Journalists, Enugu, and Mr. Jude Ossai, of the Daily News Nigeria.
Featured Image: Guests at the inauguration of executives and lecture of the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN) Enugu State Chapter (Photo Credit: ACSPN)