It is no longer news that the Nigerian Universities Commission has unbundled the Mass Communication curriculum into seven different departments each awarding its own degree. The curriculum widely supported by Professors and Practitioners of Communication in Nigeria first came to lime light sometimes early 2019.
Amidst arguments and counter arguments of the possibility of its implementation, it appeared all was set to launch a new phase in the study of communication in Nigeria.
Recently, words filtered out that the implementation across universities in Nigeria is scheduled to begin this year with fresh admissions of new students. This kernel has given a notice of the regulatory body’s commitment to widen the depth of a course known as communication studies. And the beginning of challenges of sustaining the new unbundled curriculum. Though the move was not to totally erase the Mass Communication as a course, it has given universities the opportunities to run specialized courses in the areas in which it was split.
People have expressed fears on the new curriculum unbundling the discipline. While some say the fears are unfounded, others argue that any problems emerging from this new move would be resolved along the line. What are the issues that this For the average Nigerian youths, what are the strengths and weaknesses of this new unbundled curriculum? This is what this piece focuses on.
#One Faculty, Seven Programmes. Unlike before, the new system means that communication has become a faculty. This implies that communication has now become an umbrella for seven other programmes. For communication studies, there are varieties of course a prospective student can pick from. From Public Relations, Advertising, Journalism and Media Studies to Multimedia and Media Studies, the coast is now clear.
#Generalist Versus Specialist Education. The unbundling of the communication has given the opportunity for students to specialize in an area of communication. Unlike the usual practice before now where a student of communication would be struggling to specialize in an area, the new curriculum makes it easy for students to specialize, take courses and earn a degree in their area of specialization. For instance, any student who is interested in Advertising would take courses in advertising only without bothering to go to other areas as was the common practice. This allows for deeper knowledge in theory and practice. It could also facilitate easier entry into the professional circle.
#Stiffer Competition. With this new development, there will be tighter competition in the industry. Since we have specialized degrees, it would be difficult to cross the boundary from one aspect of the discipline to the other. For example, when a vacancy exists for a journalist in a media house, only applicants with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies would be considered. If it were before, all graduates of Mass Communication would have had the chance to compete. In a severe economic landscape like what we have in Nigeria, it might be difficult surviving as graduates of Public Relations would have to look for jobs in that segment of the communication studies.