Journalism students decry lack of equipment

HUYE - Journalism and Communication students at the National University of Rwanda have expressed their disappointment over the lack of learning materials which is affecting their learning.
Students at the School of Journalism during a practical in the computer lab (Photo; A. Kareba)
Students at the School of Journalism during a practical in the computer lab (Photo; A. Kareba)

HUYE - Journalism and Communication students at the National University of Rwanda have expressed their disappointment over the lack of learning materials which is affecting their learning.

Scarcity of equipment has made the much needed practical sessions difficult because the number of equipments like cameras do not tally with that of students.

“We need cameras, recorders and quality computers with sufficient ability to store software’s we use,” said Noel Dukuzumuremyi,” a second-year student.

Early this year, an ad hoc parliamentary commission set up to investigate the state of universities and other higher institutions of learning in the country, found that the department of Journalism and Communication at the NUR only had six cameras and 10 computers serving 206 students.

The commission was led by MP Adolphe Bazatoha who was deputized by MP Emmanuel Mudidi.

“We have to learn by practice, we cannot do this unless we have the necessary equipment,” said Elvis Nibomari, the president of Journalism student’s association- JOCOMSA.

“We study TV, radio and print, that is why computers, cameras and recorders are desirable.”

Cathy Majtenyi, a Canadian journalist and visiting lecturer at the university, also observed that the number of cameras in the school is insufficient. She decided to improvise by using frame cardboards and picture composition in practicing shots.

“A student has to do my assignment and produce a story for the final script though there are logistical difficulties,” said Majtenyi.

Margaret Jjuko, one of the staff in the school currently teaching broadcasting, said that ‘there is a great emphasis on theory rather than practice.”

The number of journalism students has been steadily increasing since 2008 when the university admitted 70 students in the first year. This is in contrast to the previous years where not more than 35 students could be admitted. Whereas student enrolment has risen however, the equipment has remained the same.

“As much as we try, our work is undermined because of lack of equipment since every student should have a camera” said Jjuko.

Dominique Nduhura, the head of the department, acknowledged the problem, attributing it to budgetary constraints.

“We do not have a budget to procure more equipment, we are hoping that the University authorities will find a solution,” he said in a telephone interview with The New Times.

But according to the Rector, Professor Lwakabamba, the university is not short of funds to procure equipment if need arises. He blamed the delay on the slow procurement process.

“There is a general lack of equipment but we can mobilize finds to equip the Journalism and Communication department. We have received substantial support in this department and more will be done to equip it,” said Lwakabamba.

He said that the impending transfer of the school to Kigali will offer a solution to the problem of equipment because students will be able to use facilities owned by public and private institutions.

“Students will be able to use equipment at the Great Lakes Media Centre which will be part of the school. They will also be able to do their practice in several public and private media houses in the city,” he added. 

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