School correspondents project: Enhancing media literature
15-Apr-2018


Modern media cannot be restricted to traditional specializations or talent frameworks. Nearly everyone today interacts with the media in its digital form on a daily basis, contributing to its content in one way or another. Indeed, today’s educational systems have merged life and career skills, adjusting core subjects according to societal requirements. Media, in particular, plays an essential role in this process due to its unparalleled power and tremendous influence, an influence necessitating the training of a cadre of distinguished students who will become journalists. Beyond this group of future journalists, all good citizens should be critical thinkers and active participants in their communities. Meanwhile, most people in their contemporary careers require media literacy in order to flourish and succeed. To meet the demands of the modern world, students need critical thinking and communication skills; these needs can be met by implementing media literacy in schools.

The School Correspondents Project is a pioneering initiative by the Ministry of Education in the Kingdom of Bahrain to enhance media literacy through school activities. This project provides opportunities for students of all levels to explore and exercise media skills while surrounded by professionals who can provide the needed guidance and support. Preparing students to conduct interviews, prepare reports and cover events, encourage them to initiate ideas creatively while seeking knowledge and expressing opinions and concerns through the media. Bahraini students in this program demonstrate self-confidence, competence in dialog skills and fluency in Arabic, English and French. Ultimately, the School Correspondents Project equips today’s students with the tools needed to become a generation of conscious media consumers and contributors.

As demonstrated by this project and many others, citizenship and the safe use of technology have become major concerns for Dr. Majid bin Ali Al-Nuaimi, the Minister of Education. It is crucial that students survive, and more importantly, succeed in contemporary societies, where propaganda, extremism and recruitment occur via digital media. Students today spend a great deal of time interacting with these technologies, and providing media access in schools – with training – gives them a chance to contribute. These contributions transform them from media consumers to producers, and as producers, they carry with them the ethics of media, adhering to their national identity while caring about national and global issues. Such students are worthy of leading a career in the media.

 Pedagogically, it is remarkable how this experience enables students to enjoy their learning, a fact that reflects the project’s relevance to modern students’ contexts. Today’s young people do not want to be passive observers and receptors of information, but active participants who investigate, explore and actively engage in the search to find answers and uncover knowledge. This project enlarges their space for freedom and creativity.

Bahrain’s media literacy initiatives have contributed to students’ educational experiences through policies, projects and cross-curricular activities. Stimulating national pride, these early interventions seek to create an educated media generation, reflecting our awareness of current and future challenges. Meanwhile, they intellectually empower students and immunize them from the potential impacts of negative media. In the near future, we hope to see the introduction of an independent media curriculum, that has specific textbooks, teachers and time in our classes.


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