Newsletter No 11 20 December 2005
 
News from the Media Scene:
Iraqi Teachers Learn How to Use Newspapers in the Classroom

Teachers from Mosul, Basra, and Baghdad, met in Cairo, Egypt, on December 11-14 for a seminar whose goal was to introduce them to the Newspapers in Education (NIE) concept that encourages a culture of reading and civic participation. The NIE “Getting Started” seminar was organized by UNESCO and WAN through its NIE Development Project sponsored by the Norwegian paper company Norske Skog.

NIE is the practice of using the newspaper as an additional "textbook" and an invaluable classroom resource. The newspaper can be used to provide lessons in basic reading, mathematics, politics, science, social studies, geography and critical thinking. NIE can be carried out at all levels of education and the lessons can be designed to tie in with the national school curriculum. During the Cairo seminar, teachers were presented with several exercises to be carried out using Arabic language newspapers.

Teacher Ms. Iman Hammodi of Baghdad said that in the past she has used the newspaper as a simple tool in her class where “we allowed students to read the top stories to let them get a feel for whatever was going on. But the method that you are introducing as an interactive and vital tool in teaching is something new.”

“The program has a lot to offer in making education accessible to everyone but this wouldn’t be of value unless we make newspapers accessible to students,” said Ms. Nihad Mari from Baghdad. She said she hoped there would be some coordination between press organizations and the Ministry of Education to further NIE.

Expressing her satisfaction with the event, Aralynn McMane, WAN’s Director of Education and Development said, “We were clearly in the presence of master teachers who combined the perfect mix of experience, excellence and enthusiasm.” WAN also invited Mohamed Musa Mohamed Hereika, an editor of Al Ayaam in Sudan, whose paper has started NIE already to participate in the event.

While the teachers debated strategies they could use in their lessons, in a neighboring conference room an eclectic mix of media professionals, academics and human rights workers were debating freedom of expression issues related to their country’s constitutional process. UNESCO, and Article 19, a UK-based human rights organization promoting freedom of expression and access to information worldwide, brought the group of Iraqi professionals together for a two-week training course.

Freelance writer Adil Hameed Raheem, who writes a blog from Southern Iraq, seized on the opportunity to attend the course, which he said could only help him as he develops his role in Iraq’s reconstruction.

To know more about the Newspapers in Education project, please visit http://www.wan-press.org/nie/home.php