Aga Khan University has embarked on an ambitious long-term program of educational investment across East Africa. A rising Africa is outgrowing many of its traditional institutions, particularly in graduate education. In the coming years, the University plans to establish seven new graduate professional schools each driven by an absolute commitment to quality.
These centers of excellence will help create a new generation of professionals who will go on to become ethical, innovative leaders — dedicated to social responsibility and able to make a lasting impact on their countries and the region.
The Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC) is the first. Planning began in 2007 with a thinking group on Media Studies comprised of leading academics and practicing professionals. Their work was driven by two key insights: (1) that the media scene in East Africa is rapidly diversifying, with traditional print, electronic and digital media all playing a part, and (2) that, while there is much to learn from developed world models, the developing world must chart a course that reflects its unique conditions.
Beginning in 2018, the Graduate School of Media and Communications began offering the Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ) whose curriculum reflects a considerable contribution from the thinking group, faculty, and other professionals in the development of the programme. An executive-style programme of Professional Development and Continuing Education (PDCE), and Executive Education (EE) launched in early 2015. In 2020, the school plans to offer an Executive Masters in Media Leadership and Innovation, focused on senior media managers.
Market surveys were conducted to test the demand for these degrees. Local consultants provided valuable guidance in both the design of the programs and their execution.
The result is a curriculum and vision that puts a premium on hands-on, practical instruction in a state-of-the-art multi-media setting, coupled with an over-arching emphasis on ethics and law and the fostering of specialty expertise in issues of particular relevance to East Africa.
Our target market is, in the first instance, early/mid-career practicing professionals from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Suitably qualified and motivated students from outside East Africa will also be considered. Ideally, the work of our “students” will be published or broadcast by their employers or others allied with the school.
Our model is learning-by-doing at the side of the best in the business. Our “just in time” faculty from the region, and digitally brought in sometimes from North America, Europe and Africa, will rival those of the world’s best universities. As a magnet for talented professionals from across the globe, GSMC will offer the opportunity to forge the kinds of connections that open up new horizons and transform careers.
In the years ahead, the Graduate School of Media and Communications will move to the ultra-modern media center, in the universities newest building, “University Center” on 3rd Parklands Road. The new facility will be the outward face of our inward journey — and of East Africa’s media transformation.