Publication: Daily Times
Date: April 29, 2014
Web Address: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/29-Apr-2014/media-development-trust-and-nust-sign-mou
ISLAMABAD: Media Development Trust (MDT) and the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Monday to develop initiatives for development, empowerment and research on media in Pakistan.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony was held at the Mass Communication Department of NUST, where the faculty members, students and media scholars were present. NUST Principal Ashfaque Hassan Khan and Media Development Trust President Amir Jahangir signed the MoU. On this occasion, Jahangir said that MDT is working with different academic institutions in the country to bridge the gap between academic research and industry practices. “There is a gap between media practices and the theories being taught at our universities. We need to address this to improve the state of media in Pakistan. The research institutions need to have more focus on how to commercialise their research by increasing industry-academia collaboration,” he said.
He further said that MDT and its strategic partners Mishal Pakistan, and Agahi, in collaboration with NUST would create capacity-building initiatives for the faculty and students through interactive workshops, seminars and research initiatives on specific sectors with a focus on media. MDT and NUST would create a hybrid pool of resources for knowledge sharing. Ashfaque said that NUST is honoured to be a part of the industry academia collaboration with MDT and would make all possible efforts to make this initiative credible and objective. The department offers a unique opportunity to combine innovation in media with the students in the mass communication field for joint research projects, engaging prominent media institutions and experts of national and international repute.
NUST Department of Mass Communication Chairman Zafar Iqbal said that NUST has been envisioned as a centre of excellence for promoting media and communication studies in the country. “We aim to accomplish this in a manner that can be useful for media professionals, academic scholars, researchers, development sector, policy-makers and regulatory bodies,” he said. According to the MoU, both the organisations would work together to create research opportunities for students and faculty members in the media, including the Media Credibility Index (MCI). They would also develop initiatives for the students to understand issues relevant to media sciences and journalism in terms of media management, content analysis and outreach strategies. Collaboration on the capacity building of students and faculty members would build technical skill sets to work on the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of projects related to media and journalism.
The MoU would also encourage excellence in research by awarding “TRUST Gold Medals” every year for the students of Media & Communication Studies achieving first positions in Bachelor and Masters Programmes. AGAHI President Puruesh Chaudhary while sharing his views said that media’s contribution to the sustainability of functioning democracies is significant. Media serves as a catalyst for human development and provides the justification to create a more cognizant collective consciousness of the society. “We believe that this collaboration would foster an enabling atmosphere through which free and independent media can flourish with plurality, diversity,” Chaudhary added.
The partnership between the two leading research institutions, Mishal (a country partner institute of the global competitiveness and benchmarking network, World Economic Forum) and Pakistan’s top research university would identify the gaps in the knowledge ecosystem and build the capacity of the students and faculty members for creating opportunities according to the new tools of global communications. Both the organisations would work together to create a knowledge exchange programme between NUST and research institutions, both at domestic and global level; whereby different programmes would be developed to build synergies in the field of journalism and communication. The MDT, in collaboration with NUST’s Mass Communication Department would also develop an annual report.