The workshop to come out with a framework on media literacy in schools ended last week.
But the precursor to this one was held on 2-5 June 2009 under the name “developing strategic framework for media education and literacy programme in Bhutan”. The retreat at Kingacholing Resort, Wangdue Phodrang came out with broad guidelines and suggestions. That was what it should have come out with at that point in time, which it did.
It pointed the way to the right the right direction.
The Department of InfoComm and Media Authority spent a hefty sum in organising the workshop. The point about the second workshop was basically to come out with a curriculum to educate the children on the value of media and of course use it as a tool to learn, if the teachers find it relevant.
Who stands to benefit most? Every one, of course. For too long we were fond of using that catchy phrase about “developing a knowledge-based society” that is suppose to contribute to the process of democracy. It is an interesting idea. But how do we go about creating a knowledge-based society so that they can come to an informed decision-making process.
If all the stakeholders do not participate in this process, then every one loses out in the process. That is something that we have always failed to understand.
We may claim that the whole process is supposed to benefit the society in general. This may ensure a new generation of young people, plagued with unemployment and other attendant ills, to think of something that will guide them along. The exposure to information and media help them to make choices and prepare them to make those choices.
At the school level, the children just want to know and learn to access different forms of media, which will contribute to their learning process. If children are made aware of the value of media, if not any one at least the media industry will have an increased readership.
Sadly, the participation from the media was rather low. Equally unsatisfactory was also the participation from the education ministry, particularly from groups who knows and how to pilot these new programmes. They are the experts. Media personnel can only contribute. So there is a need for understanding among all the people working towards what the ministry of information and communications is trying to do.
How do we integrate this new idea or are we going to start off with a new subject. As it is the schools curriculum and the teachers are overburdened, to say the least. The only way that this programme will see the light of the day is by integrating it in various relevant subjects. This is a matter that experts, who develop curriculum, know better and should handle it accordingly.
Another important thing is to know the funding process. Is the literacy programme going to end with just a series of meetings and seminars? Or will be continued into the future. For that we need fund.
During the workshop in Paro, some participants pointed our that a particular programme was implemented with such a great gusto, but when the funding came to an end, everything ended up there.
So if we are serious about this media literacy programme, every one on board should be serious and ask if it is relevant. The answer should come more from the education sector.
If so, how do we integrate it into the overall curriculum?