March 16, 2010: To create awareness and educate people on the media, Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MoE), has developed a curriculum framework for schools and programmes for the public.
The media literacy curriculum and teacher’s guide, which were developed in 2009 by MoIC, MoE, Royal University of Bhutan and other relevant stakeholders after several rounds of consultative meetings, will be implemented in five pilot schools this year.
Students of Khasarabchu MSS, Phuenstholing MSS, Yebilaptsa MSS, Mongar HSS and Trashigang MSS will be introduced to the new curriculum.
According to the Director of Department of Information and Media, Kinley T Wangchuk, the draft strategic curriculum framework was developed based on the best core skills and key concepts practised internationally for media literacy education.
The need for media literacy was felt due to the influx of foreign media content and rapid increase of media agencies in the country.
“At present, many people are not aware of the media, and there is a need for all relevant stakeholders to play a vital role in creating awareness of the media in Bhutan,” said Tshering Dendup, assistant media officer of DoIM.
Recognising the need to create media awareness among the public, various awareness programmes will be developed in the next few years for literate and illiterate people, youth, and special need groups, said Tshering Dendup.
He added that the media literacy programmes will enable students and public to understand the media and prepare them for life in an information-based society.
The media literacy curriculum for schools aims to prepare students to be capable and skillful consumers of and contributors to the media as responsible citizens.
According to Wangchuk Rabten, curriculum specialist of Curriculum and Professional Support Division, media literacy will instill skills to enable media audiences to access, critically analyze, evaluate and participate in producing media products for self-expression.
He said that the concept of media literacy or media literacy education is not only to help the society understand and eliminate negative impacts of media messages and images but also to appreciate the role the media play in disseminating information and making choices in healthy consumption of the media content.
The programme will also help identify various media sources, critically analyse and reflect on different media texts, understand the techniques and technologies used in the media, the way the media operate, acquire skills using the media to communicate with others, interpret the messages and values offered by the media, and select appropriate media for communicating their messages based on political, social, commercial and cultural contexts.
For the public, MoIC will develop a website which will enhance the ability of viewers and readers to make wise choice on the consumption of media products. It will enable the public to acquire essential skills of enquiry and critical analysis of media products. Audio visual programmes, literacy activities, and public message through cultural programmes, posters and banners, rallies and plays will also be staged to create awareness.
By Namgay Tshering in Bhutan Observer