Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
5.2 The main challenge of the MOE in the development of support services is to improve the quality of school hostels with substandard facilities and is unsafe for accommodation in the rural areas. Such hostels were built through gotong royong projects or on ad hoc basis initiated by the local community, using low quality building materials and sub-standard building plans. The MOE also faces an increasing demand for residential schools to cater for the growing number of qualified and excellent students. At the same time, many hostels at teacher training colleges are underutilised due to the reduction in teacher trainee intakes for pre-service training. The overall cost of managing and operating these hostels have also risen with the increasing number of hostels and boarders as well as escalating prices of materials and services.
5.3 The operational costs for the text-book loan scheme (Skim Pinjaman Buku Teks, SPBT) have also increased. Furthermore, if the plan to replace the present printed text books with electronic books or e-book is realized, the MOE will need a bigger allocation to supply these e-books to students; train teachers and personnel in managing, maintaining, and storing such books; and provide for systematic and effective e-book distribution system.
5.4 The MOE also faces the challenge of providing sufficient funds for scholarships and study loans to all students and ensuring an effective management of the funds. For the Integrated School Health Programme (Program Bersepadu Sekolah Sihat, PBSS), the MOE has to ensure that all schools receive the services provided under the programme and to increase the frequency of these services. For the Supplementary Food Programme (Rancangan Makanan Tambahan, RMT) for primary schools, the challenge is to increase its allocation in order to expand the services to more poor students and ensure that the meals provided are nutritious and well balanced.
5.5 The MOE also faces the challenge of providing sufficient numbers of full-time student counselors to schools. At present, the number of counselors provided for each school is determined by using the existing ratio for teacher allocation. This practice is a disadvantage, especially to schools with small enrolment where the school heads usually have to assume the role of the counselor as well.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
6.1 The development plan for education funding aims to expand and increase the sources of funds as well as to ensure effective financial management at all levels of the MOE.
The strength of A f rican countries is the involvement of their people in development programmes. This implies involvement in the conception and execution of a project and in safeguarding its achievements. In this respect, participation is at the heart of integrated sustainable management of coastal regions. To better understand, we can imagine a situation in which communication and education remain a monopoly of official bodies, with no regard for the eventual beneficiaries. That would make it impossible to achieve the set goals, much less inclusion of the beneficiaries and long-term use of the resources.
Participation provides only advantages and opportunities. We must come up with flexible ways to include people, suitable methods of communication, appropriate topics and training methods and ways to solve the tricky problems which come with involvement, such as how to make decisions and how to implement environmental laws and programmes. But people do not realize how serious the problems are. As far as communication and education about the environment are concerned, the main obstacles are:
• i g n o rance of how important the env i ronment is;
• lack of skilled people;
• lack of infrastructure and funding;
• shortage of teaching equipment and organization;
• shortage of integrated, co-ordinated programmes which are reasonable, needed and sustainable;
• very slow growth of the NewWorld Information Order to replace the present one dominated by powerful Western societies;
• ‘dependence’ of African media on those of theWest.
Every country is different, however, so we need to encourage research and action to understand
the problems better and perfect the means of communication and education. In the Comoros, for example, it would be risky to rely on government institutions. Local television stations are everywhere, but a national station has not yet been set up. Experience shows that traditional places – village or town squares, mosques, Koranic schools and community centres – are still the best ones for communication and education.
The goal is a development approach adap
we think the priorities are to:
• encourage the use of local languages, especially in gras s roots communication and instruction;
• emphasize development of human resources and awareness of the importance of the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources;
• encourage the setting up of local and national media organizations in Africa which are diversified, viable and professional;
• strengthen the capacities of the private sector and local communities;
• build networks of communication and information;
• reconcile the needs of the environment with those of the economy (such as tourism) and employment;
• develop socio-cultural factors and add modern scientific and technical knowledge to them.
a new approach to communication and education which allows everyone, from political decision-makers and agents of change to those who finally benefit, to be involved in the sust a i n able integrated management of coastal regions. The goal should be to find a good balance between the formal and informal in the field of communication and education as it applies to the environment.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
The country is a big timber exporter, which puts it at the mercy of the industry’s market fluctuations. The mainland coast is the area most affected by this. According to a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) study in 1981, mangroves cover 20,000 hectares of Equatorial Guinea. But lack of money and trained personnel as well as the absence of a broad awareness of their economic importance has meant that these areas have not been developed. These are some of the reasons why my country is interested in the activities of Sustainable Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), and in all UNESCO’s programmes to do with the environment, small islands and integrated management of ecosystems. We also favour drafting an overall plan for c o m mu n i c at i o n , e d u c ation and training in coastal management.
Therefore, my country would like to implement, with UNESCO’s help, an interactive communication programme which would set forces in motion resulting in an energetic and interact ive re l ationship between the va rious social agents, with the help of the media and the N ational Unive rs i t y. The aim would be to increase the involvement of the population and their commitment to the development process and to change the behaviour of people, groups and communities so as to improve the quality of life of these individuals and groups. An interact ive commu n i c ation programme could be a means of development and social involvement in sustainable management of Equat o ri a l Guinea’s coastal regions and small islands.
Th rough its Conservation and Rational Use of Fo rest Ecosystems (CUREF) progra m m e, t h e
gove rnment is also committed to drawing up a plan for cl a s s i fi c ation and rational use of land in the Rio Muni mainland. The plan outlines a d e s i rable pat t e rn of land use based on biologi c al , physical , technical , economic and socio-cultural crite ri a , as well as on the gove rn ment ’s policies concerning rural development , timber production and pre s e rvation of fo rest ecosystems.
Environmental training is provided at the National University with courses to train skilled public health workers and forestry experts.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
2.8 The Blueprint plans to strengthen special education programmes and expand opportunities for special education by providing more trained teachers in special education schools and schools with inclusive programmes. Efforts will be made to encourage public participation and contribution in the development of special education.
2.9 Strategies to improve the quality of primary education include increasing basic education infrastructure, revising the norms for teacher allocation, and ensuring 50 percent of primary school teachers are university graduates by 2010. Other strategies include strengthening the Integrated Primary School Curriculum (Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Rendah, KBSR) to further improve the 3R skills among pupils, making the curriculum more relevant to current and emerging needs of the country, and strengthening all co-curriculum programmes to reinforce the development of intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically balanced individuals. In addition, the strategies include revising school textbooks, improving integration of ICT in teaching and learning, expanding the Smart School concept nation wide, increasing the role of school administrators as curriculum leaders, strengthening monitoring and evaluation activities on teaching and learning, strengthening evaluation mechanism of student performance, increasing school and community collaborations, and reviewing the rate of per capita grant to schools.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
This highlights the importance of the audience in the strategy. A comprehensive needs assessment should be undertaken as the first step and address the following questions:
• What do members of the community feel about sustainable development in respect to coastal regions?
• Is there a repository of indigenous knowledge and practice that promotes sustainable development in regard to the coastal regions?
• What are the existing communication networks and systems?
• What are the preferred channels of communication?
• How can information on sustainable development in the coastal region be packaged in a simplified, interesting and palatable manner that will interest the community?
The needs assessment will assist in the planning of the strategy because audiences should be segmented and specific for effective communication. Further, available avenues of communication, such as radio-listening groups where they exist can be tapped into and utilized, thus reducing the cost in terms of acquisition of communication channels.
The strategy should be both long-term and short-term. The long-term strategy should be aimed at developing a sustainable communication and education system at the community level: ultimately, the Chair can be envisaged as a technical arm which provides relevant information as demanded by the communities. The advantage of this is that such information will be specific to particular areas and communities and will be based on their priorities, leading to their ownership and active involvement because they will determine how the programme will operate.
This also means that fe e d b a ck mech a n i s m s should be efficient, effective and significant to
the process. The mass media can be considered as a possible tool to raise awareness and for advocacy. Most media studies indicate that the mass media are most effective in raising awareness and to lobby for policy changes among decision-makers and opinion leaders. The radio and newspaper for instance can be used to inform and educate this category, who can be encouraged to incorporate messages of sustainable development in their meetings such as barazas, and even in religious gatherings.
I n t e rp e rsonal commu n i c ation has been found to be highly effe c t ive in political commun i c at i o n , p a rt i c u l a rly wh e re the mass media is somewh at curt a i l e d. Other deve l o p m e n t agents such as social development wo rke rs and c o m munity development offi c e rs can be targeted, to enable them to include messages on sust a i n able development in their contact with
c o m munity members. The strat egy on the whole should be mu l t i d i s c i p l i n a ry and it should use a multi-media pers p e c t ive to enabl e the planners to re a ch a va riety of audiences
e ffe c t ive ly and to re i n fo rce the most cru c i a l m e s s ages. At the fo rmal leve l , the school system can be used as the ch i l d - t o - child communi c ation method has proved to be of gre at
impact in the health sector. This will involve using the educational stru c t u re and integrat i n g
a component of sustainable development into the school curri c u l u m .
At the university level, institutions of communication and journalism can be targeted to enable the Chair to instill messages of sustainable development in the media and to develop their interest and solid knowledge in the topic. Training workshops can be an effective method in sensitizing this cadre of workers: it can also be extended to those in the teaching profession, community development officers and those in social work. This summarizes my idea of what the workshop should add ress. I hope to part i c i p at e actively in the planning and implementation of the programme.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The growth of ports also brings with it several kinds of pollution from the wharves, from ships, dredging operations and from contamination by urban sewage. The main effect of such pollution, and silt deposition, is cloudiness of the water, which reduces production of phytoplankton. The ocean floor environment is also changed by sedimentary deposits and waste material. Human health is affected too. We have some foul-smelling beaches which threaten the health of local people because they spread intestinal diseases like cholera and hepatitis. Shipping movements and related activity are also sources of pollution. About a tonne of copper ends up in the sea every year as a result of big ships repainting their hulls.
Monday, October 25, 2010
In 1995 the Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM) initiative in Kenya based on the National Environment Action Plan (NEAP) and other international protocols brought together hoteliers, researchers, planners, resource managers and relevant university departments to profile the problems confronting the coastal residents outside Mombasa town. To consolidate the issues in the study area and endorse strategies to address them, other stakeholders had to be included to complete the evaluation and make a comprehensive list of suggestions. These were administrators, boat operators, mangrove t ra d e rs , fi s h e rmen and tourism serv i c e providers. A lead institution for co-ordinating the effort was identified.
Th rough this part i c i p at o ry pro c e s s , the issues to be add ressed we re identified as rapid urbanizat i o n , d e cline in reef fi s h e ries and water quality, e rosion of the shore l i n e, d egra d ation of other coastal ecosystems and use conflicts. Both short - and long-term strat egies to solve the pro bl e m s we re also evo l ved and synthesized in a ‘ s t rat egie s ’ document to be implemented by various pe rtinent institutions/people based on mandate, ex p e rience and tech n i c a l / fiscal cap ab i l i t y. To start w i t h , some demonstration projects are being put in place to show off the real value of ICAM as a tool to manage coastal re s o u rces. To sustain the e ffo rt s , vo l u n t a ry technical wo rking groups on the va rious issues we re put in place and will execute and ove rsee the implementation of the va rious strat egies on behalf of a secre t a ri at and a multi-institutional Coastal Management Steeri n g Committee (CMSC). As a Co-o rd i n ator of the p roject for the last four ye a rs I would like to share h e re my ex p e rience with colleagues in the regi o n .
Formal education empowers and fully integrates an individual into his immediate and global community. The level of formal education in the majority of our coastal communities is low. As a
result, the environment and the biology of the resource base is not fully appreciated nor are conservation principles for sustainable use. For example, local stakeholders do not know that coral is a living organism that requires certain conditions for its continued growth and development. Their educational status also excludes stakeholders from knowledge of alternative uses of coastal products or substitution of other products to avoid overexploitation. The status also reduces risk taking in adopting new, appropriate and still affordable technologies.
Fortunately, with the type and amount of research information available on the study site, the challenge to raise awareness and encourage participation in implementing specific development strategies is a feasible one.
CULTURAL EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE
Cultural education and experience is knowledge that has been accrued over the generations by practice and habit. This cultural practice is therefore proven and it is definitely sustainable. M o d e rn ap p ro a ches to coastal management have to accept this information base and interweave the cultural experience with modern science in order to achieve the desired results. Custodians of cultural education tend to be resistant to parting freely with their knowledge. Appropriate incentives need to be evolved to reward the sharing of indigenous knowledge when it is sought for incorporation into planning development programmes. Such knowledge exists in boat making, sailing, night fishing, seasonal movements of pelagic fish schools, upwelling, selective fishing etc.
The success of coastal projects will be largely determined by how good a working rapport is established among all the stakeholders including government and the beneficiaries/supporters of
the projects. When bad communication/publicity is given about our coastal tourism, for example,
appropriate communication should be given to correct the record in order to sustain an industry
which accounts for up to 60% of total national tourism. Translation of policies, strategies and priorities into various local languages should be encouraged even though in Kenya we are united
by a national language that originated from the coast. Our experience has been amply shared through national radio and international conferences and our strategy document has been put on the Internet by our collaborators at the University of Rhode Island. The proposed codes of conduct for our conservation areas and the environmental impact assessment procedures to be incorporated in the government environment policy are highly articulated. On-the-job training, training of trainers and refresher courses appear to be the most efficient methods of communication with target groups already engaged in specific enterprises; it updates the workers on the latest technologies and methodologies. The benefits cut across generations as you make future leaders aware of coastal problems early in their lives.
Another determinant of the long-term success of the ICAM process is the development of a critical mass of trained pers o n n e l , a functional national framework and a sustainable financing
scheme tailored mainly from within individual c o u n t ries. This development will guara n t e e intensification, expansion and nationalization of the ICAM pilot projects. Continued sharing of experience and extensive use of technical expertise from elsewhere is encouraged. In this way, national efforts will be regionally and internationally integrated.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Mauritius is an island of coastal tourism, which uses up an enormous amount of coastal resources such as beaches, important natural geological sites, lagoons and coral reefs and other aspects of the landscap e. The touri s t industry is an important part of the country’s economic development and brought in US$459 million in revenue in 1997, making it the third biggest source of income after agriculture and manufacturing. The 1.1 million people of Mauritius welcome 600,000 tourists each year and the number is expected to reach an annual average of 845,975 by the year 2002. All of the 90 registered hotels are on the coast, where tourist facilities take up 41.9 km of the 322.5 km of the coastal zone of the 1,860 km2 island.
But the tourist industry may collapse if these resources are not managed in a way that co-ordinates the activity of interdependent elements with a view to sustainable development. It is significant that after years of unregulated development, people are now starting to talk about sustainable tourism. This famously fast-growing i n d u s t ry also affects the inhabitants of the coastal areas and their environment; conflicts often find their way, when all else fails, into the columns of the island’s newspapers. The need for sustainable development of the environment was first mentioned in the Mauritian press in 1990, though the concept had been launched by the Stockholm declaration in 1972, when tourism in Mauritius was taking off in a big way. It came up in the reporting by the newspaper Week-End of a scandal over construction of a hotel, started in 1989, at Balaclava on the northwest coast, which has the only bay in Mauritius where 90% of the coral is still living. The coral reefs at this unique spot, which has been earmarked as the site of the island’s first underwater park, were bulldozed to build a water-skiing lane. The outcry led to a new environmental protection law in 1991 which requires all new tourist projects along the coast to undergo an environmental impact assessment before getting the go-ahead. But another crucial part of sustainable development – the social aspect – was not dealt with.
Once more through Week-End, exasperated fishermen protested in 1993 against the dredging of
a lagoon at Trou d’Eau Douce, on the east coast, to build an artificial island for the Sun Resorts hotel group. The dredging permanently changed the water currents and jeopardized the inshore fishing, which was one of the local community’s main economic activities. The upshot of the media protest was that the hotel developer recognized the harm the project had done to the community and the fishermen were paid compensation. But the lagoon’s ecological balance has still not been restored and the fishermen, with the help of the money they
got, have turned to other work related to tourist development.
An overall awareness of what sustainable development is about has steadily gained ground and the part played by communication, using the written press, is very clear. Examples of it are increasingly cited by the newspapers and there are now opportunities for discussion and analysis
leading to awareness of its importance, especi a l ly wh e re integrated management of the island’s coastal areas is concerned. The press helps with reports, interviews and big articles, in non-technical language that is easy to understand and supports people’s concerns about the
FROM COMMUNICATION TO EDUCATION
At a deeper level, the spread of information about the environment along with a greater involvement of education in sustainable development programmes leads fi n a l ly to people understanding that natural resources are limited and that it is the job of all of us to look after them. So starting with the agents of communication and with journalists, we have to know the scientific facts about the ecosystems and how human activity affects them. The press is a powerful and essential tool in creating this awareness, especially at decisionmaking level, either in government or the private sector. Just like the media, sources of informal education such as bookshops, nature reserves and parks, training courses and research centres fit in with the aim of educating people to manage the environment. But messages from various sources can confuse things. The news can help the cause, as we have shown, but there needs to be greater involvement through specialized training. The task of e d u c ation in sustainable development programmes in coastal areas is to encourage economic activity and behaviour that is consistent with sustainable development by increasing the know-how and knowledge of the ecosystem and
natural resources. So alliances should be made among community groups, non-governmental organizations, industries and those involved in formal and informal education.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
More recently, the Ministry of Education brought out an environmental education policy, outlining its commitment to further development of environmental education in the national curriculum from Crèche (nursery) to Polytechnic. In 1997 a curriculum guidelines document was produced which details a series of environmental learning objectives to be integrated into the national curriculum; it includes a strong focus on the marine environment. At present a new unit on coastal environments is being developed for the primary school science programme, and another is planned for secondary school geography. Part of the Ministry of Education’s strategy to further integrate environmental education into the curriculum is to provide training in environmental education (EE) for in-service and preservice teachers. Since 1993, short workshops on various aspects of EE have been offered every year for primary and secondary school and polytechnic teachers. In addition, in 1994 the local teacher training institution introduced a popular optional module on environmental education for pre-service primary and secondary school teachers. Teacher training initiatives aim to provide teachers with opportunities to learn more about the local environment and ecology, environmental problems, and provide them with first-hand experience through field trips and project work.
However, due to several constraints, schools at present are limited in their capacity to provide students with opportunities to participate actively in projects re l ated to sustainable coastal development as part of their timetabled lessons. It is rather in the context of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities that students are being more actively involved in coastal and marine conservation education. For example, each year in the Seychelles, the Ministry of Tourism collaborates with diving centres and the Ministry of Education to organize a festival of underwater photography, the ‘SUBIOS’ festival. Included in the annual programme of activities are art and creative writing competitions for sch o o l ch i l d re n , wh i ch are taken up as co-curricular activities by art and language teachers. This popular event provides an excellent opportunity for students and teachers to get involved in learning about coastal a reas. In add i t i o n , SUBIOS guest speakers (internationally renowned underwater photographers and marine biologists) make presentations in schools on a range of topics related to the marine environment.
A local non-gove rnmental orga n i z at i o n , Wi l d l i fe Clubs of Sey chelles (WCS), wo rks in close collab o ration with the Ministry of Education to co-o rd i n ate a netwo rk of ex t ra - c u rri c u l a r e nv i ronment and wildlife clubs in schools. W C S o rga n i zes training sessions for club leaders to fa m i l i a ri ze them with local wildlife and conservation issues. Many of these clubs wo rk on activities pertinent to sustainable coastal deve l o pm e n t , s u ch as monitoring coastal wildlife, v i s i ting coastal hab i t at s , t ree planting along coastal a re a s , visiting marine park s , cleaning beach e s e t c. In Ju n e, 1 9 9 8 , in re c ognition of the Year of the Ocean, all the wildlife clubs joined toge t h e r for a march through the capital to promote the p rotection of oceans and marine life. More re c e n t ly, clubs orga n i zed and perfo rmed a va riety show for the ge n e ral publ i c, wh i ch fo c u s e d on the protection of the marine env i ronment. A t p re s e n t , WCS is wo rking on a coastal and mari n e a c t ivity book for ch i l d re n , wh i ch will include a va riety of indoor and outdoor activities to help ch i l d ren learn about the marine env i ronment and p a rt i c i p ate in conservat i o n .
The Ministry of Education also works in partnership with the Division of Environment (DOE), which is mandated to co-ordinate environmental education initiat ives targeting the general public. The DOE works alongside the media (television, radio and newspapers) to produce regular articles, and television and radio p rogra m m e s , wh i ch often focus on coastal development issues as well as school environmental initiatives in this domain. In general, the situation in the Seychelles at the moment is conducive to environmental education initiatives, particularly in primary and secondary schools where there now exists a network of committed and enthusiastic teachers. The Ministry of Education’s close partnership with the Division of Environment and Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles is producing results: we are slowly beginning to see the development of a new generation of youth concerned about, and committed to, sustainability, including sustainable coastal development.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Waves reach the beaches at a terrific speed and as a result erosion is inevitable. This has become possible because of, among other reasons, dynamite fishing, which has destroyed the coral reefs which used to buffer the hotels. Thus, dynamite fishing has not only destroyed life in the sea, but has given the sea a free ticket to destroy the beaches. The Hotel Africana was swallowed by the waters a few years ago, others which might also face extinction in the coming few years include Bahari Beach Hotel, Kunduchi Beach Hotel, Silver Sands Hotel and White Sands Hotel,
which was built just a few years back.
Another beach hotel has just been stopped in its tracks. This one was being constructed along the Oysterbay. The point about this project is that the hotel, being built by a big businessman in Dar es Salaam is within 60 metres of the shore. This is contrary to the law on such projects. The law says that a hotel should be built a distance of more that 60 metres from the shore. This project was approved during the former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi’s tenure in office. This raised a lot of eyebrows in the country. The speed at which it was being built also raised a lot of questions.
However, during the campaigns for the general election in 1995, one of the presidential candidates promised to deal with the issue as one of his priorities, if he won. Well, he won and a few months later he said the project owner followed the right procedures to acquire the plot so he did not see the logic in stopping the project. However, a presidential commission on corruption maintained that the plot might have been allocated through corrupt means. This was partly because the law was in force when the alloca-tion was made after it was turned down several times before.
The project owners, Indian Ocean Hotels Ltd., stopped constructing the hotel more than a year ago. There are reports that the government has ordered the demolition of the hotel and offered to compensate the developers for the costs incurred so far. It is said that the owners were issued with a permanent restraining order by the City Commission two years ago and consequently suspended work.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
he communicated the love and care of the Father and His Kingdom. He became the perfect communicator because he lived and practiced the basics of any human and Christian communication! He communicated in word and deed. The circumstances of his life, his birth in the manger, his death on the cross are a communication of God’s love and his humility to become
one of us. It is “giving of self in love” which is at the essence of Jesus’ communication of any Christian communication as one of the church documents described it (Communio et Progressio, 1971, no. 11).
Jesus’ healing and dealing with people reflects the basics of Christian communication. The healing of the mother in Law of Peter (Mk 1, 31) is just one example: He goes to her, holds her by the hand, and lifts her up i.e. heals her. These are the basics of any human and Christian communication which have to be developed already from the early stages in the seminary as an essential habit of a minister:
Place yourself into her/his situation (‘shoes’), and
Lift her/him up, help and heal in the power of God/Christ.
If all our ministries and even our own lives and dealings with each other would be based on these
three steps our own communities and the world probably would be different! This shows also that seminary education in communication is not first and foremost a technical task but rather a concern for a deep spirituality and faith. It might be good at this stage also to remind ourselves that there is a great difference between training and formation which comes into play here. Training is concerned about skills whereas formation leads to an inner disposition. What we need first and foremost is a proper formation which is not only reflected in a curriculum but rather in the spiritual formation and the personal relationship and experience of the Lord. It really means to put on the body and soul of Christ in relating with others, in our own “giving of self in love” (C+P 11). It is not measured first and foremost in the ‘Doing’ but rather in the ‘Being’. Communication education in the seminary must start on the level of formation and develop from
there. Placed into an overview one might see the different levels and concerns in the following
· Training > Skills: ‘Doing’
· Formation > inner disposition: ‘Being’
Friday, October 15, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
A foreign investor proposes to start prawn farming in the delta of the Rufiji River, which is the largest river in Tanzania. The project will involve the construction of ponds covering an area of 15,000 ha. This project, has generated a lot of controversy, both in terms of the number of the villagers who would be displaced and the long-term effects of environmental degradation to the area. Some people, opposed to the project, went to the extent of likening it to the tragedy which has befallen the Ogoni people in Nigeria, whose land has been extensively degraded by activities
of the multi-national oil companies.
The Rufiji Delta people themselves are also d ivided on the issue. Th e re are those who support the pro j e c t , citing its economic benefits (including employment ) , and those who oppose it. Those in opposition are supported by a my riad of env i ronmentalists including vocal non-gove rnmental orga n i z ations such as the Env i ro n m e ntal Jo u rnalists Orga n i z ation of Tanzania (JET), the Land Rights Research and Resources Institute (LARRRI) and the Tanzania Gender Netwo rk i n g P rogramme (TGNP) as well as the National Env ironmental Management Council (NEMC), wh i ch conducted an env i ronment impact assessment and advised the gove rnment against the pro j e c t . Despite all the opposition, the government approved the project. Although the project has yet to start, the people of Rufiji have gone to court to protest it. Let me at this juncture point out the ve ry c o m m e n d able job done by the media in Ta n z ania in cre ating awa reness and ge n e rating deb at e on the Indian Ocean Hotel saga and the Rufi j i p rawns pro j e c t , wh i ch is yet to take off. It wa s t h rough the media that people became awa re of the violation of their right to access the beach and the law wh i ch prohibits putting up perm anent stru c t u res on public beaches. The people of Rufiji came to know of the prawns pro j e c t after the media had interc epted some documents rega rding the project and immediat e ly made it public know l e d ge. Though the gove rnment has ap p roved the pro j e c t , most Rufi j i a n s a re not for it.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
The expression Social Communication was proposed by the preparatory commission for the document in saying that expressions like Mass Media, Media of Diffusion, Audio-visual means and similar would not be sufficient to express what the Church is concerned about. This proposal
was accepted and became the standard expression in the Catholic Church but it was later adapted by secular communication institutions especially in Latin America.
Social Communication refers, beyond mass media, to all means and ways of communication in and of human society. It includes communication through traditional means like storytelling, dance, theater, music etc. as well as the modern means. It covers the whole range of human communication in society and thus creates a special challenge also for the communication education in seminaries.
Future Christian ministers must be open and possibly be trained in the proper application of communication means and methods which are part of our cultures. Many times, especially in rural areas, this communication is still more effective than modern technical means because it includes the direct personal involvement of the communicating parties. Such an awareness and support of traditional communication can also help to mitigate or even integrate possible negative effects of globalization especially on young people.
Christian faith has to be contextualized and inculturated which is not done necessarily with the modern means. This broader approach to communication, however, which gives equal ‘right’ to the basics of human communication and the traditional means of communication leads towards that.
Monday, October 4, 2010
1. It first has to be stated again, that there is the basic need for communication formation on the
human and spiritual level. This is not done with a course alone but through the whole formation program and an open communicative atmosphere in a seminary. The three basic steps of human and Christian communication, to go, to embrace and immerse and to lift up (cf. Mk 1,31) are not only taught but practiced in daily life. If especially at the beginning of theological studies an introductory course could be given to make the students more aware of the basics of this human/Christian communication it would set the tone for all the following studies and activities in theology. In fact, I am teaching such a course since almost 20 years at the Divine Word School of Theology in Tagaytay, Philippines. Every school year the students of the first year of theology have in the first semester an obligatory course “Introduction to Social Communication” where we talk mainly about human communication, the theological dimension of communication and only in passing about the basics of media and group communication. (This is reflected in the textbook we use: “Communicating in Community,” where the first two chapters are more extensively covered, whereas the others are given only in the basics as far as time allows.)
2. We can not escape the fact, that the modern world is a world of communications. Pope John Paul II calls the world of communication “the first ‘areopagus’ of the modern age which is unifying humanity and turning it into what is known as a ‘global village’. The means of social communication have become so important as to be for many the chief means of information and education, of guidance and inspiration in their behavior as individuals, families and within society at large. In particular the younger generation is growing up in a world conditioned by the mass media.” (Encyclical Redemptoris Missio 1990, 37c) This requires from every theology student more than from others the ability of critically seeing and using the means of communication in daily life. It is the purpose of Media or Communication Education to bring this basic knowledge and develop a critical mind especially in young people. It actually should be an obligatory course and training already on the high school and college level. Such education introduces into the workings of modern media, their structures, means and methods. It shows e.g. the basic elements of a news item, how the different radio and TV programs are produced but also how communication companies are structured and try to exercise power in conquering the mind and taste of people for their purposes…
3. After this basic training there is a need for a special course on pastoral communication especially in the later development of theological studies: how to communicate in Ministry and Mission. How do the modern means of communication influence and determine those people we live with and we are to care for? How can we make good use of these means in our ministry to serve the needs of people better and bring them nearer to the Lord? The people we work with are living in a world determined by the media and even we are consciously or unconsciously part of it ourselves. How can we let the Holy Spirit come into such a situation? The same holds also for those ministries, who serve people from or in other cultures. Our communication has to adjust and be determined by these cultures because it is always the recipient who is the ‘basis’ for our decision making and our communication approach. Jesus starts with the life and concerns of the people. We have to do the same in our time!
In addition to these basic courses and approaches for every seminarian there should be also some offers for more specialized courses, especially for students with greater interest and some communication capabilities of their own. Thus there could be a film-club as a regular activity where seminarians once or twice a month watch a movie, discuss the content, methods in presenting the story and a critical evaluation. Cardinal Roger M. Mahony from Los Angeles has written 1992 a “Pastoral letter for Film Makers, Film Viewers: their challenges and opportunities” (cf. Eilers: Church and Social Communication. Basic Documents. Manila 1997) which could be very helpful for such an activity. Talented seminarians could also themselves practice radio and television productions or become part of such either on their own or in existing companies. Journalistic practices can be developed and taught. When I was a seminarian we had a “Press-group” where we wrote news items and articles for existing newspapers and periodicals; they were printed and published and we were very proud of it. Many of us saw our names printed for the first time…
Today we have new communication and information technologies. How are we going to ‘use’
them in our ministry and how can they help? What’s about E-vangelism, cyber-missionaries or
similar activities and possibilities?
Other fields like Media or Communication Ethics should also not be overlooked. They can be
part of Moral Theology but really would need a broader study in our times.
5. The need for serious research in the field of social communication and theology has also to be mentioned here. When Pope John Paul II talks about the “new areopagus” he also mentions that there is now a “new culture”. This culture “originates not just from whatever content is eventually expressed, but from the very fact that there exist new ways of communicating, with new languages, new techniques and a new psychology.” Such a situation calls for deeper research and study which is very often missing in our Christian communication activities. We very often live and work more according to trial and error than based on serious study and research. This is not only a call on theological faculties or other specialized bodies. Also seminary students should be involved in research and looking deeper into issues. They can be encouraged to write respective papers or even do their thesis on a communication related subject. They can be involved in surveys to discover a certain communication situation. Thus I did two years ago with my students a study on how young people in the areas around the theological school and in some parts of Manila use and see modern media in their lives. Unfortunately we have only very few scientific publications specializing in this field. It is high time that we go deeper to explore the ‘market’ but also to see better the different possibilities for God’s Word in our time.