As part of the Pro-Engage Campus edition of the Regulators Monitoring Programme (REMOP), the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism engaged students of Mass Communication from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Bayero University Kano (BUK) and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zariaon investigating basic education and electricity on September 11th and 13th respectively.
The Regulators’ Monitoring Programme (REMOP) was conceived by the WSCIJ and supported by the MacArthur Foundation, to keep an eye on the regulators in basic education and electricity. The Pro-Engage Series on its part is an initiative commenced in 2011 to connect professionals within and outside the media to share ideas with potential and practicing reporters.
Using data from the media monitoring research conducted by the WSCIJ in 2017, Motunrayo Alaka, the WSCIJ Coordinator disclosed that most reporters cover tertiary education and neglect basic education. According to her, “There is space for students to report basic education in the country because many of the newspapers monitored focus on tertiary institutions. Basic education which ensures literacy can be sufficient as evidenced by many of the older Nigerians who were successful with the then ‘Standard Six’”.
Speaking on how to make a difference as a reporter, Lekan Otufodunrin, Online Editor at The Nation Newspaper, urged the students to experiment what they are taught in class, by sending stories and letters to Editors. He added that the students can also make use of YouTube to publish their audio-visual contents.
At UNILAG, Ralph Akinfeleye, a professor in the Department of Mass Communication noted the significance of the exposure to the career of the over 150 students in attendance. On her part, Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika, the current Head of Department appreciated the WSCIJ for the choice of the department and the institution for the engagement.
In a similar development, 496 students of Communication from Bayero University Kano (BUK) and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) were trained at the BUK. Mustapha Nasir Malam, a professor and Dean, Faculty of Communication at the school, represented by Ibrahim Suraj. He affirmed that investigative journalism is the way to make a difference at a time when journalism is quickly being encroached by peddlers of fake news.
A total of eight students from the universities will be interning at the WSCIJ for two months to deepen their understanding of the basic education and electricity sectors from October to December.