IJC discussed the prospects of Media Education with the administrations of Russian-language schools in the north of the country

Why Media Education is important, how to implement this optional course in educational institutions, what are the challenges, but also the prospects of the subject after more than two years of the pandemic – all these topics were discussed at a workshop with the participation of 23 directors and deputy directors of Russian-language schools in the north of the Republic of Moldova. The event was organised by the Independent Journalism Centre (IJC) on 17 August in Balti.

At the beginning of the workshop, Mariana Tabuncic, programme manager at IJC, highlighted the institution’s efforts in recent years to bring the subject of Media Education to schools in the Republic of Moldova, including Russian-language schools, while Tatiana Plamadeala, specialist in Monitoring and Evaluation at Internews in Moldova, underlined the importance of media culture for the development of a critical thinking generation.

The training session was moderated by Natalia Griu, one of the authors of the Media Education manuals, who underlined that “media is becoming an important factor in the education process”. During the various practical activities, Natalia Griu tried to convince the participants that in the 21st century, when the informational flux is huge and the development of information technologies requires a change of attitude towards the educational process, Media Education is a necessity.

During the workshop, Valentina Turcan, director of the Slobozia-Chiscareni Gymnasium in the village of Chiscareni, Singerei district, and Svetlana Tatarciuc, deputy director of the Lyceum “Al. Pushkin” fof the Falesti city, shared their experience of teaching Media Education in their educational institutions, as well as their experience of participation in competitions and activities organized by the IJC.

Before the pandemic I participated in a training programme in the filed of Media Education held by IJC also in Balti. Coming back to school, I had to explain to colleagues and parents why this course is valuable. Usually, when I want to convince someone of the importance of something, I ask them to clap one hand only. Can we clap? No! To educate the child at school we have to clap with both hands – where one hand is the parents and the other hand is the school, the society. We asked parents if they want their children to feel safe online, to learn to correctly discern information in the public space, and obviously their answer was positive. That’s how teaching the subject started in our school. We are also grateful to the IJC for the fact that, although we have no experience in managing educational projects, in 2020 we were given the opportunity to participate in the first edition of the competition “Media Education – a priority in my school”. In the end, we were among the winners of the competition and our school was provided with an interactive whiteboard”, said Valentina Turcan.

Usually at the primary level, optional courses are mostly applied math, and I, by nature, try to go against the flow. I didn’t attend the Media Education training program, but in 2020 I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the teachers in our lyceum who attended a training program on the subject. Last year, when my students reached third grade, I decided to teach Media Education. Also then we were selected to participate in the second edition of the competition “Media Education – a priority in my school”, giving us the chance to organise a series of activities on media education themes over a year. Practically the whole lyceum was involved in this competition and the enthusiasm of the students exceeded our expectations. The results were not long in coming – we were among the winners of the competition and our lyceum was given a media education corner. The conclusion we came to is that if you want to do something important and worthwhile, then you have to put your heart and soul into it and motivate others to follow you. I am glad that we have achieved this in our school, and today Media Education is highly appreciated by the students and teachers in our lyceum”, said Svetlana Tatarciuc.

The representatives of Russian-language school administrations in the north of the country are convinced of the importance of media culture for students, which is why some of them have already decided to implement the course in their institutions.

Ludmila Gurscaia, director of Theoretical Lyceum “Lev Tolstoy” ofthe Glodeni city, was impressed by how simple, accessible, interesting and concrete the benefits of the Media Education course can be demonstrated. “We have some experience in teaching this subject, but we certainly want more. We now aim to introduce the course at all three levels of education. At the first meeting with parents this school year, and also in the school’s teacher council, we will inform parents and teachers about the advantages and importance of this subject. Today, when our brains are overloaded with information, we are sure that the course will help students to learn how to analyse information, how to understand certain processes and phenomena and how to apply the knowledge they have acquired effectively in practice,” noted the director.

Natalia Plesca, director of the Sturzovca Gymnasium in the village of Sturzovca, Glodeni district, said that she has already taken the decision to teach Media Education in the gymnasium she heads. “It is a very important course, and we, the teachers, have the mission to convince the students of this as well. I leave this meeting with the idea of implementing the course in our gymnasium at both primary and secondary level. The fact that the IJC offers free manuals is a definite plus. We will try to use this opportunity to bring Media Education to our school,” said the director.

The workshop participants received a set of Media Education manuals in Russian language for the three levels of education to facilitate their consideration of the possibility of introducing the course in their school. They represented Russian-language schools from Balti municipality and districts of Ocnita, Drochia, Falesti, Glodeni, Singerei, Falesti, Floresti.

This event was held by the Independent Journalism Centre in the framework of the project `Boosting Support to Russian-language independent media and media literacy efforts: Phase II`, implemented by Internews in Moldova. This project is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


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