Senior journalists welcome shutdown

Two veteran Samoan journalists have welcomed the decision by the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) to close down its journalism program next year.

TV1 Managing Director Galumalemana Faiesea Matafeo and Radio Polynesia representative Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia told Samoa Observer in separate interviews that graduates of the program did not meet industry expectations and the university did not market it enough.

"For me, I think it's for the best because I can say that some of the graduates from the diploma program aren’t fully up to the standard," said the television station’s head. “We recommended to Misa Vicky Lepou (current N.U.S. journalism program head) a long time ago that the people who have been serving in the media industry for long can come and teach the students. There are practitioners of media like Mathew Lemisio, Savea Sano Malifa, Mata'afa Keni Lesa and many others.”

For Autagavaia, he believes the N.U.S. did not do enough marketing of the journalism program resulting in low student enrollment, and a shutdown to review and reconstruct its curriculum with industry input is the way to go.

"Best option by the V.C. to shut it down and rebuild because as far as I know the program itself is not known to so many students, the marketing of the program isn't there," he said. "I am suggesting that the media industry should cooperate with the university in reconstructing the program, because the students who will graduate from the journalism program are the ones who will be occupying the media industry.”

Last week the N.U.S. Vice Chancellor, Professor Alec Ekeroma, revealed plans to shelve the program to enable its curriculum to be restructured.

Other than low student enrollment in the program, which was a major factor behind the university’s decision, Professor Ekeroma said the administration decided to shelve it in order to implement the recommendations of an external review, for its curriculum to be rewritten and new lecturers recruited.

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