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Morocco’s First Online University TV Channel Offers Training Opportunities

/ 22 Jul 2021

Morocco’s First Online University TV Channel Offers Training Opportunities

AGADIR—As universities in the Arab region halted face-to-face classes during the Covid-19 pandemic, Ibn Zohr University, in southern Morocco, was not satisfied with just switching to online applications to communicate with students. Therefore, it also established an online university TV channel to provide lessons, spread university news, and train media students.

“I am very impressed by such a step and its high technical specifications,” Morocco’s minister of national education, vocational training, higher education and scientific research, Said Amzazi, said during a recent visit to the channel’s studios at the university, in Agadir.

Amzazi explained that this step reflects the development of teaching methods in response to the pandemic and that the experience will be put in wider circulation later, along with establishing additional similar educational channels.

A Practical Training Opportunity

The online university TV channel project built on efforts the institution started several years ago in the field of media and communication education, said Ahmed Belkadi, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Ibn Zohr University.

“Students participated in developing it, while providing all the necessary capabilities for it, with the aim of communicating with a larger number of the public interested in university affairs, both at home and abroad.”

Ahmed Belkadi   Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Ibn Zohr University

“The idea of launching a TV channel came after the pandemic,” he said. “Students participated in developing it, while providing all the necessary capabilities for it, with the aim of communicating with a larger number of the public interested in university affairs, both at home and abroad.”

The university channel broadcasts news bulletins in Arabic and French, in addition to various programs related to scientific research and university affairs, as well as talk shows that host intellectuals, professors and administrators from different disciplines at Ibn Zohr.

The channel also provides an opportunity to train media students, allowing them to develop practical skills. Young media professionals dominate its staff, and most of them are media and journalism graduate students. The channel broadcasts its programs from studios inside the college designed to simulate professional television broadcasting studios.

“We work as a professional team, according to each one’s academic specialization,” said Awatef Kandoussi, a doctoral student at the college who works in the channel, pointing out that the opportunity to work on a television channel was like a dream for students. “Professional work is not available to students,” she said. “The channel provided us with that and made our dream come true.”

“The channel gave us practical training opportunities after years of academic study at the university.”

Mohamed Anfalous   A master's degree student

Mohamed Anfalous, a master’s degree student in media professions and practices, also was pleased with the channel’s launching.

“The channel gave us practical training opportunities after years of academic study at the university,” he said. “What we learn here will undoubtedly help us later upon entering the labor market.” (See a related article, “Teaching Journalism in the Arab World: Challenges and Lost Opportunities.”)

Enriching Students’ Career Paths

The shift to distance education was not easy, especially since it was imposed in an emergency situation and without prior preparation. (See a related article, “The Shift to Online Education in the Arab World Is Intensifying Inequality.”) However, the continued spread of the pandemic prompted education officials in Morocco to think about developing methods of teaching and communicating with students.

“The pandemic formed an important opportunity for us to create a new model for communication” with students and the public, and “to create a new space that provides the opportunity for our master’s and Ph.D. students in media and communication disciplines to train and prove their competencies in a practical way,” said Omar Abdo, coordinator of the master’s degree program in media professions and practices.

Students’ work at the channel will enrich their future career paths, he added.

Currently, the channel broadcasts via the Internet and social media apps, to achieve popularity in order to reach the new generation of students joining Moroccan universities. Its founders hope that the channel will take its place in the future among satellite channels.

“We have a great ambition to broadcast via satellite in the future,” said Belkadi. “This would expand the dissemination of culture and knowledge and further develop students’ skills.”




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Copyright © 2018 Al-Fanar Mediaحقوق © 2018 الفنار للإعلام