By Saheed Ibrahim
Lack of fund and resources in Nigerian universities has been identified as the major obstacle to unbundling Mass Communication across universities in the country, as only four of the 67 universities offering the programme had begun the process.
Recall the Nigerian University Commission directed that the unbundling would take effect in September 2021, with the course unbundled into eight different programmes.
The major reason for the unbundling was to deepen professionalism because of the broader nature of Mass Communication, which may not allow students to have deeper knowledge of the sequences embedded in it.
Speaking on the reason for the delay in implementing the unbundled programmes, the Acting Head of Mass Communication Department (HOD), Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-AKoko, Dr. Olugbenga Abimbola stressed that the dearth of fund, academic staff, buildings and other needed resources impede the implementation.
“Infrastructure is another major challenge. A faculty complex housing the various departments is required. This comes with all the studios, laboratories, equipment and facilities. However, these can be shared as some of the facilities are common to all the disciplines while others are for specific disciplines,” he explained.
Abimbola, however, noted that unbundling the programme would limit the employability of graduates produced as the existing structure allows the graduates to seek employment in different fields of the communication industry.
Also, the immediate past HOD, Mass Communication, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Dr. Lambe Mustapha, explained that many universities were yet to take off the new programmes due to a lack of resources.
He, however, feared that the current economic situation of the country and the market availability might undermine the growth and take off of the programmes in many universities.
To ensure the success of the unbundling, he advocated the intensification of professionalism, whereby no one would be allowed to practice any of the professions without having a degree as evidence.
The Mass Communication HOD at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Adepoju Tejumaiye, said funding has been a major challenge for many universities that have not taken off with the project.
According to him, “In today’s university financing, the Federal Government is not doing enough but with several efforts, the unbundling will become a reality”.
While hinting that UNILAG had commenced preparation towards starting the programme, he, however, urged other institutions to lobby their university administrators so that no institution would be left behind in the new system.
A Professor of Mass Communication at Lagos State University, Prof. Lai Oso, unbundling programmes in universities requires a lot of resources, more books, facilities, academic and technical staff, who has a lot of experience to take the students in the practical aspects of the programme.
He said what motivated the push for unbundling was to prepare students of communication for the challenges ahead through practical applications, which would make them ready professionals even before they graduate.