Newsletter No 19 21 February 2006
 
News from the Media Scene:
NIE Grows in Sudan Thanks to a Teacher-Journalist

Since September 2005, Mohammed Hereika, a school director in Khartoum and an editor at the Sudanese daily Al Ayaam, has been exploiting a common link between his two professions. By initiating a first-of-its-kind Newspapers in Education (NIE) project in his country, he has introduced his students to a concept he believes could be applied all over Sudan.

Hereika started to use NIE in class with the cooperation of one of his teachers and received the support of Al Ayaam, which provided the students with newspaper copies for free.

“What I found convinced me both as a teacher and as a journalist committed to social issues,” he says. “NIE aims to make the youth read because of the pleasure of it and to provide them with analysis skills so that they can decide by themselves what is right and what is wrong,”

Hereika started the program with 20 girls aged 12-14 and with the instructional support of only the World Association of Newspapers NIE website http://www.wan-press.org/nie/home.php. Once a week, fifty minutes of extra-curricular class time was devoted to the subject of newspapers. For the first twenty minutes, students read the paper before discussing content and topics they considered most relevant. The final step in the process was archiving the newspaper items and their comments in a special notebook.

He has extended NIE to four other schools in Khartoum.

“I contacted some teachers and gave them the materials to have the program started. Nowadays, teachers call me to know more about it. I hope to introduce 30 more teachers to NIE when I’ll come back from this second workshop,” Hereika says, after participating in a workshop in Cairo on 12-14 February under WAN’s Newspapers in Education Development Project.

He likes to think that one teacher could train ten more, and that those ten could train another hundred. In order to achieve that aim, he is currently trying to get the new Sudanese government involved.

“I dream of a center in Khartoum that would coordinate the program all through the country,” he says. “NIE has results in the short term and can help a lot in the long one. It can change attitudes in the very conservative Sudanese society. A clear example is getting school-girls interested in sports through the newspapers. Today, sports are seen just as a masculine activity. It is also amazing to see 14-years old girls getting interested in the country’s politics and proposing solutions for conflicts.”

Hereika is so convinced by the positive effects of the NIE initiative that he praised the program’s benefits in a recent column in Al Ayaam.

“I feel I have reached my goal. Not only are some students making their news archives at home, but also some are even writing about what concerns them. In fact, the final goal of the program is to let you express yourself,” Hereika says.