To improve the training of journalists in Afghanistan, the project proposes dual programmes in journalist training at state universities, including both theoretical and practical components. The aim is to train the students so comprehensively that they are already recognised journalists after completing their studies and can take on leading positions. Improved training would also increase the quality of journalism and reporting. 

In addition to theoretical training at university, a vocational training period at an editorial department outside the university should be integrated into the programme. The model is based on German universities, such as Dortmund or Eichstätt. Established journalists should also be allowed to take part in training programmes. 

The current state of international research on this topic serves as the basis for the development of the model. Particular attention has been paid to the southern regions (including Pakistan, Tanzania, Indonesia), which have a similar social structure to Afghanistan. Research was supplemented in a way specifically tailored to the situation in Afghanistan. This took into account the circumstances in Afghanistan, such as the role of professional self-image, the local conditions of institutions, and resources such as teaching capacity and financial means. Positions on social and cultural values, such as traditions and the significance of ethnic groups and Islam, were also considered. The aim, therefore, is to develop models specifically adapted to the situation in Afghanistan. Under no circumstances should the Western model simply be transferred to Afghanistan. 

To find out what this dual model could look like, Afghan experts were asked about the current training situation for journalists. The resulting forty-five interviews sought to identify which aspects could be improved and how. Representatives from universities, the media, politics and journalists’ associations were interviewed. 

A fact-finding trip to Germany by the Afghan partners made it possible to show the dual model in practice and to exchange ideas.

There are plans to test the model for the first time at Nangarhar University. After that, it is proposed that other state universities adopt it too. 

The four-part manual which was developed from the results provides orientation for the implementation of the project and offers guidance for implementing its findings. The first part contains a theoretical basis, such as current training models and relevant stakeholders. The second part describes the five models created within the project. The third part describes the organisational steps in the planning, the introduction and testing of the pilot project. The fourth part includes a glossary of technical terms relevant to the project. Also, several sample study programmes similar to the project are presented.

The book is in English and will be translated into Persian and Pashto in the future so that it can be used at all local universities. 

Originally, a major national conference was planned in cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education in Afghanistan. The manual was supposed to be handed out to all interested parties on that occasion. However, due to the political situation, the conference could unfortunately not take place. 

Interview with the coordinator of the project – Dr. Kefajat Hamidi

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For an overview of all the important steps within the project, a graphic summary is provided below:


The project “The Professionalisation of Academic Journalism Education in Afghanistan” produced five concepts for improving journalism training in Afghanistan. These are summarised in the manual as the following models: 

Recommendations for a dual bachelor’s programme in journalism

Firstly, a reform of the current BA in terms of structure and content is proposed.On the one hand, theory teaching should be brought up to date. Students should also receive teaching in communication studies and the role of the media in society. On the other hand – and this is the main objective – a practical course component should be included to prepare journalists for working in the profession. The research project recommends a six-month internship in a media company.

Recommendations for a master’s programme in communication studies at Afghan universities

To this end, the introduction of a new MA is proposed.The master’s course is aimed at extending the bachelor’s degree and, above all, at training young academics. On a master’s study programme, students should research and discuss the impact of the media on politics, the economy and everyday life in Afghanistan. However, the central point is that young academics (i.e. future university lecturers) could be trained on this programme. Up to now, young academics have been trained abroad (in China, India or Europe) at great expense because there is no MA programme in Afghanistan.

Recommendations for further training of professional journalists at Afghan universities

Also, further training for working journalists is proposed.To bring journalists in the field up to date, training courses should be available at universities. This would increase their chances on the job market and improve the quality of their journalistic work.

Recommendations for the development of communication studies programmes at Afghan universities

The range of courses available at Afghan universities should be supplemented by the discipline of development communication. In transition countries, in particular, well-trained people who can support and foster development processes in their country are essential. This programme should focus on teaching students how to use digital and traditional communication to promote social change.

Recommendations for the public relations programmes at Afghan universities

Up until now, the subject of public relations has not been taught at Afghan universities. However, due to the media boom, press spokespersons for ministries, companies etc. have become increasingly important and are in great demand. Since people in this profession communicate with the population via the media in the same way as journalists, they play an important role in society. For this reason, well-trained and qualified people are also needed in the professional field of public relations.

Prerequisites for the implementation of the project

In order for the project to be implemented, several prerequisites must be met. 

At the macro level, legal regulations are needed to restrict access to journalism courses. Only if the number of students is regulated will there be enough internship places for all students. It must also be made legally possible for universities to draw up contracts with media companies. Only in this way can practical training be incorporated into study programmes. To this end, there is an urgent need for structures that promote research into communication science, e.g. a research centre where research work is pooled and organised, and/or professional journals where research results are published and made available to the public. 

At the meso level, institutes of journalism and communication studies should cooperate with other disciplines such as politics, medicine or art and culture. In this way, prospective journalists can acquire professional competence (specialist knowledge) in these areas. 

At the personnel, that is, micro level, it must be a prerequisite that teaching staff acquire higher qualifications. For example, they could complete a master’s degree, improve their didactic skills or learn new foreign languages. 

These are important prerequisites for bringing training up to date.

More information can be found in the manual on page 185 – 199.

Transformation plan

Academics are aware that this project cannot be implemented overnight. A reform of this kind is a long-term process with different steps for which a period of approximately eight to ten years must be expected. The further qualification of teaching staff, the internationalisation of the discipline and the development of infrastructures should be realised over this period, as well as the reform of courses. The implementation of these steps requires financial resources, either from the Afghan state or by international sponsorship schemes. The latter should be sought by and applied for by the Ministry of Higher Education and the professional community.

More information can be found in the manual on page 185 – 199.

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