The Professionalisation of Academic Journalism Education in Afghanistan

A project supported by the Volkswagen foundation

Two journalism students learning about photography, photo: Qais Alamdar
Two journalism students learning about photography, photo: Qais Alamdar

This project, which was developed in cooperation between German and Afghan universities, aims to improve the university education of journalists in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, there has been a veritable media revolution over the past two decades. This has been made possible by international financial assistance, the introduction of advanced media laws and the liberalisation of the media market. It has attracted a steadily growing flow of people into the journalistic profession. Currently, there are around 10,000 journalists in Afghanistan. The range of media in the country is now larger and more versatile. But is this a sustainable success story? 

It is difficult to find a clear answer to this question, as developments are influenced by several aspects, such as political insecurity in the country, economic instability and social division/transformation. 

But above all, professional academic journalist training is lacking. Current training programmes do not adequately prepare students for the multifaceted profession of journalism, as they only encompass theory and not practice. By comparison, practice-oriented components are already the standard for international academic training programmes in journalism. The project developed at the University of Leipzig, Germany, in cooperation with universities in Afghanistan, also pursues this approach. It was designed to improve the training of journalists in Afghanistan and was developed from 2015 to 2018. It aims to develop a dual training system that interlinks theory and practice. To find out exactly how training can be improved, a study was undertaken involving the latest international research, interviews with experts in Afghanistan and a situational analysis of Afghan universities. The results have been summarised in a manual.

If the recommendations of this project were implemented, the result could be an academic training system for young journalists in Afghanistan that is perhaps unprecedented in regional comparison.

Dr. Kefajat Hamidi – coordinator of the project

Interview with Dr. Kefajat Hamidi

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The project was funded by the VW Stiftung and coordinated by the University of Leipzig (led by Prof Arnulf Kutsch, coordinated by Kefa Hamidi) in Germany. The project was supported by the University of Nangarhar, the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education and other universities in Afghanistan. 

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