Since 2001, journalism has gained in popularity in Afghanistan and has achieved significantly higher recognition in society (Altai, 2014). The number of training programmes on offer has also increased significantly since then. Compared with other developing countries, Afghanistan has offered the highest number of training programmes for journalists in recent years (Altai, 2014). All these programmes have one thing in common: they offer a bachelor’s degree as the highest qualification for graduates. There is no master’s degree in journalism available in Afghanistan. To meet the high demand, trainees can participate in day- and night-shift courses. There are currently four training pathways in Afghanistan: traditional university education, journalism schools, media company training programmes and short-term programmes. The training concepts they offer are very different.
For an overview of the content within journalism training, a graphic summary is provided below:
Education at universities
More than seven universities in Afghanistan have journalism institutes: Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, Nangarhar, Khost, Kandahar and Alberoni. Approximately 2,000 to 2,500 students are taught there (source: Hazrat Bahar 2020).
Since 2001, non-governmental training programmes have also been tolerated in Afghanistan. These include the Nai Media Institute (NMI), an independent training organisation, who offer a fee-paying programme. The institute was founded by the non-profit organisation Nai, which is committed to improving local media in the country. The two-year training course includes theory, research and practice. Graduates are highly respected and are active in all media sectors in Afghanistan.
On-the-job and in-house training by media companies
Media organisations have recognised the importance of training for journalists and have created internal training programmes. Commercial broadcasters in particular, such as TOLO, employ many young people from all areas. Graduates from these programmes are often disparagingly referred to as “course or workshop journalists” because they do not have a university degree (Wakili, 2007).
Non-academic education and training programmes used to be offered by organisations and NGOs. These short-term programmes included, in particular, practice-oriented courses, as university education did not previously provide for practical training. The training instructors were often journalists from Western countries who passed on their knowledge to Afghan journalists while on vacation. It has been observed that the number of short-term programmes has decreased sharply in recent years and that these programmes are now almost non-existent; presumably, because they have been replaced by longer-term programmes.