Kenya: New Media School's Initial Campus Set for Nairobi in 2011


The Aga Khan Development Network has launched a new faculty at the Aga Khan University - the Graduate School of Media and Communications. To be allied to the new Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the plans for the new media school were announced by the Aga Khan at the Pan African Media Conference 2010 held from March 17-18 to coincide with celebrations of the Nation Media Group's 50th anniversary.

The Aga Khan, who founded the group in 1960, said the school "will be driven, above all, by an absolute commitment to quality," adding, "In a world of growing complexity, journalists must increasingly understand the substantive, sophisticated dimensions of the fields on which they report - from medical and environmental sciences to economic and financial disciplines to legal and constitutional matters."

The new initiative will build on the Nation's experience and the unique strengths of the Network in the region and globally - including expertise, institutions, and resources in social, economic and cultural areas of activity.

According to Aga Khan University President Firoz Rasul, the school will strive to attract a vibrant intellectual community, anchored by a core of committed media professionals and scholars of diverse backgrounds and expertise and enriched by visiting, adjunct and exchange faculty members.

"Initially, its core faculty will together possess critical areas of expertise, including excellence in journalistic practice, media ethics, law and social responsibility, media management, media and global and societal issues," Mr Rasul said, adding, "The school will cultivate and maintain a dynamic adjunct and visiting faculty cohort through partnerships with academic institutions across Africa and globally, drawing on the diverse array of international and regional media professionals based in Nairobi."

It will further focus on reaching rural and marginalised communities, according to Nazeer Ladhani, the director of the School. "The school will achieve this by providing a sustainable institutional platform for strengthening wider media ecosystems in East Africa and more broadly in the developing world," he told The EastAfrican.

Planning of the school's programmes and facilities has begun and, over the next year, an initial campus will be established in Nairobi, he added.

The school will seek to build partnerships with NMG - along with other media enterprises across Africa - to develop and deliver programmes and training that meets the diverse needs of the sector. The formal launch of the school is anticipated in 2011, although some pre-opening activities - such as faculty development and African pedagogical content development initiatives; and events convened by the African Global Forum for Media and Society - will begin this year.

"A dedicated website will soon be launched that will track the progress of the school's development and profile upcoming events and activities," said Ladhani. AKDN has long recognised the role that a diverse, independent and socially responsible media sector can play in strengthening development, pluralism, and governance outcomes.

For half a century, the Network's commitment to improving the quality, reach and impact of journalism in Africa has been expressed through the Nation Media Group.

The east African