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
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
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