The Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) convened a Media Literacy and Culture of Reading Summit on 26-27 March 2010 at the Council Chambers, Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, Mafikeng in the North West. The theme for the summit was “Basic Media Literacy Education - ‘Constructing Views of Reality'”.
The MDDA has a mandate to create an enabling environment for media development and diversity that is conducive to public discourse and that which reflects the needs and aspirations of all South Africans. Further, Section 3 (v) of the MDDA Act requires the Agency to support initiatives which promote literacy and a culture of reading.
Accordingly, the MDDA held this Summit as an attempt to support initiatives that promote literacy and a culture of reading amongst diminished language groups and inadequately served communities. In this regard, the MDDA formed partnerships with the Department of Education (DoE) - national and provincial, Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, Ratlou and Mafikeng Local Municipalities, the Institute for Advancement in Journalism (IAJ), The Star - Newspapers in Education (NIE), and Agenda Magazine to introduce a culture of reading and basic media literacy amongst learners in schools, to promote debate and dialogue on media for learners and to encourage learners to be involved in producing their own media.
The Summit kicked off with a launch addressed by the Basic Education Deputy Director-General: Office of the DG - Ms Vivienne Carelse and attended by dignitaries such as the Executive Mayor of the Ngaka Modiri Molema District, Ms Rebecca Mokoto, Mayors of Mafikeng and Ratlou Local Minicipalities; the Press Ombudsman - Mr Joe Thloloe; SABC Education Senior Producer: Mr Alfred Mathibe and many other local stakeholders. At the Summit launch, there was also a roundtable discussion which was led by the the Press Ombudsman, Mr Joe Tlholoe. The Press Ombudsman hosted the Roundtable and guided the Summit delegation through issues pertaining to self-regulation, democracy, constitution and the children's rights in relation to the media. Media practitioners from local media formed part of the respondents at the roundtable, giving local perspectives on media and engaging the learners and educators on development of media products in schools.
Ten (10) high schools selected to participate in this Summit were from both the Ratlou and Mafikeng Local Municipalities. The participating schools were Madiba, Batloung, Setlopo, Mmoledi, Mothibinyane, Reikanne, Tshoganyetso, Kagiso Barolong, Kebalepile and Leteane High Schools. Fifty (50) learners from these schools attended with their teachers and benefited from the Media Literacy Trainng that was facilitated by the IAJ and The Star newspaper. One key outcome of the training was that at the end of the Summit, the learners would produce a pro-forma cover page of a newspaper.
“MDDA and its partners have identified a gap in the market and have decided to launch the second Pilot Programme called Media Literacy and Culture of Reading Summit at the Ngaka Modiri Molema District in the North West. The two participating local municipalities are Mafikeng and Ratlou. In terms of geographical area, Ngaka Modiri Molema is the second largest district both in population and size in the North West,” says Mr Lumko Mtimde, Chief Executive Officer of the MDDA.
The deficiency of a culture of reading is a major concern in South African society and indeed in the Southern African region. Media education is part of the basic entitlement of every citizen, in every country in the world, to freedom of expression and the right to information and is instrumental in building and sustaining democracy. The long-term goal for the MDDA and its partners is to see the Media Literacy and Culture of Reading programme included in the school curriculum and schools producing their own media products. The intention is to assist young people to be more critical consumers and producers of media as well as to stimulate an interest in media as a field of study.
It is envisioned that through this initiative a platform will be set to develop media literacy skills which can be used across the curriculum, thereby contributing to the upliftment of educational standards and promotion of a culture of reading. The promotion of a reading culture amongst South Africans will extend the pool of creativity and communication skills in the country. There is an immense hunger amongst South African youth for information which they can use to improve their lives and empower them to have an effective say in governing.
For more information on the Media Literacy and Culture of Reading Summit, contact:
Programme Manager: Research & Training Ms Manana Stone - +27-11 643 1100 or email her on:
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