€ 590 840
Voluntary contributions, Norway and Turkey
Media Section (Directorate of Co-operation, Directorate General of Human
Rights and Legal Affairs)
1 March 2009 – 31 December 2010
Improving the professionalism of journalism graduates in Azerbaijan.
The journalism curriculum and teaching practices are brought in line
with European standards;
The journalistic and pedagogical skills of university lecturers are
Teaching materials, including online learning courses and textbooks are
Stronger links are forged between journalism students and the media
Activities and results in 2010
Technical know-how on best practices of journalism teaching is provided
by the BBC World Service Trust in co-operation with the Dublin Institute
of Technology and the Norwegian Institute of Journalism. The Council of
Europe ensures that the aims of the reform and the content of the
curriculum are in line with the organisation’s standards. The key
beneficiary is the Journalism Department at Baku Slavic University (having
replaced, with the agreement of the donor, the initially envisaged Baku
In its initially proposed version, the project included three strands,
which can be viewed either as separate sub-projects or as constituent
parts of a comprehensive intervention:
Enhancing teaching resources and work placements;
Dissemination and consolidation of the results. Due to the limited
funding available, this specific project focused on the first strand,
namely Curriculum modernisation. Under this strand, the project set out
to achieve the following objectives:
Promote practice-based journalism teaching;
Improve the pedagogical and journalistic skills of university lecturers;
Devise a modular curriculum which responds to the real needs of the
The project has been very successful in achieving all of the first phase
objectives. The implementation of Phase I of the project culminated in
the BSU Scientific Council approving the new modular journalism
curriculum. The modular curriculum was initially developed for the
following five subjects: TV Journalism, Radio Journalism, Journalism
Ethics, New Media and a totally new subject for Azerbaijani journalism
teaching – Photojournalism. By the end of December 2010 the development
of teaching materials for each module was completed.
In addition, another five modules on TV Technology, Radio Technology,
Print Technology, Print Journalism and Introduction to Journalism were
developed. By the end of the extension period (15/02/2011), the
project will have created two new practical labs – a New Media newsroom
and a photojournalism lab - and will have trained a basic core of
university lecturers in using them for the benefit of the students.
The BBC World Service Trust has worked with academics from British,
Norwegian, Irish, Turkish and US universities for the successful
development and implementation of the modular curriculum.
Assessement and follow-up
The project has enjoyed a strong sense of ownership by the teaching
staff at the Baku Slavic University and excellent support from the
Rector and the management of the university. This has also been a
significant factor in improving the pedagogical skills of the lecturers.
The project has created the necessary momentum for changing journalism
teaching in Azerbaijan not only at Baku Slavic University but also at
other universities who have shown an interest in the programme and
attended conferences and seminars. Universities have also expressed an
interest in achieving changes in the state standard so that new
curricula can be incorporated with greater ease.
There is strong expectation on behalf of the Beneficiary, Baku Slavic
University, that the project should complete Phase II as originally
intended, allowing the time and necessary resources to embed the new
methods and curriculum and make the systematic changes truly sustainable.
Baku Slavic University has stated its firm belief that if the project
should stop at the current stage, the University would not be able to
implement the new curriculum, thus jeopardising its current reputation
as being at the forefront of modern journalism education.
The next phase of the project will also have the added benefit of using
the modular curriculum which has already been developed, as well as
planned new specialist subjects, as a basis for creating new journalism
curricula at other Azerbaijani universities. Phase II will particularly
focus on working with Baku State University Faculty of Journalism to
prepare it for the implementation of a new curriculum.
The secretariat is exploring possibilities for funding to continue with
the second and third stages as initially planned and possibly to involve
also Baku State University. The project’s design can also serve as a
blueprint for reforming journalism education in other member states.