Thursday, 5 March 2009 3:56 PM

Media: A Powerful Tool for Students

Knowledge is power when it is acted upon.

Obviously, less has been seen in the past where students boldly display their thoughts using: the radio , the internet or in news papers. Only few did and were rewarded for their efforts. What is so clear is; our students are yet to explore the potential energy latent in the media industry. This paper will briefly discuss some lights on how our academic students can build their capacities using the media as a leveraging tool.

Primary and Secondary Students.

Now, promoting primary and secondary students'participation in media arena can effectively build their academic and intellectual capacities as individuals or as groups. They should be encouraged and supported more by their teachers as well as parents to write alot of poems, lyrics, short stories, descriptions, letters etc. Their works can be published in news papers, websites, where we can read or relayed on radio waves for us to hear. Our government, business houses and NGOs should be encouraged to develop media activities that recognize the efforts of our primary and high school students with outstanding performances. These should be done on an ongoing basis, not only during annual events or special happenings.

The print , internet and radio media can motivate aspiring primary and secondary students to utilize their literature skills because their intelligence and creativities can be exhibited in public, where citizens of all classes can have access to judge their merits.

To add on, when students feel recognized nation wide, their motivations to perform better at higher levels will naturally accelerate. They also become proud of their identity.

Tertiary Students.

Further, local students attending Universities abroad and in country such as USP, Solomon Islands College of Higher Education should be highly empowered to compose literature and publicly display in news papers, the internet, or radio concept papers on issues of rural development, conflict management, sociology, business,philosophy,biology, history, governance, religion and in many other fields. Many of these topics can pause strategic interests for stimulating discussions and debates in our media be it radio or print.

Our national government through ministry of Education can pay for pages in news papers and then attract tertiary students to publish their ideas. It then can give awards in forms of prestigious schorlaships to students who publicize best designs, theses or concepts in science, business, economics, politics, education,medicine etecetera. The public then can participate by judging and nominating who they think should get the top awards. This is one better way of recognizing our best and toppest human assets in a public and transparent manner.

Again, such strategy will also motivate our students to aim high and become serious about their education.Such approach will make them realize that nothing of high quality is cheap. In real life most things we acquire for free or cheap has no long term value. No lasting worth. But achievements we reap from our sweat,from our thorough thinking, from our well researched analyses will remain a good story left for our future generations to remember.

On the contrary, passing of bi annual examinations in classrooms should not only be the criteria to justify students' performance thus ranking them to be the creams of our nation.Many exams did not stimulate indepth thinking that will truly identify our real local geniuses. Rather we cannot truly show who we are in just two or so hours of examining.

Perhaps, the importance of cheering our tertiary students to engage in analytical writing and demonstration is to tell our nation that we are the cream and we are vibrantly active in our highest educational pursuits. It is through our presentations that we can demonstrate to our leaders that though we have just finished or still studying, we can still participate in steering this nation forward.

By these, our top leaders too can admit that spending millions of public dollars on university or college students is truly necessary and is a worthful, generating investment for Solomon Islands.

Another media advantage on tertiary students is that it can market our ideas to potential scholarship awarders and employers both in the public and private sectors, be it national or international. Nearly all managers today in Honiara read news papers every morning. Who knows there could be a time; for example a business manager or a scholarship awarder will be very impressed on a concept paper, a tertiary student writes.The manager then can directly contact the student whilst still studying and tell of his company's interest to employ the student after he or she graduates or may recognize the student's application for a scholarship when he or she applies. Circumstances like these can happen.

Vocational Students.

On another note, Technical Vocational Education (TVE) students also do have a very low capacity in communication skills.Their direct partcipation in the media is so little to imagine. Many of us seem to discriminate vocational education as a second class schooling and was usually attended by drop outs. This should not be the case and is a wrong thinking that we must put a stop to.

However, educational authorities and the ministry of education should promote acquisition of communication skills and media participation at vocational level as well. Rural training Students through special radio programs should be taught basic skills on how to: give their views on the radio, write convincing job application letters, prepare saleable resumes, project proposals, learn public speaking skills, mastering interview tricks and the list goes on. The radio can be easily used to facilitate this learning approach.

Essentially, this way of transferring learning can be very effective to helping vocational students develop their capacities, building their confidence to successfully acquire jobs, win tender bids as well as enabling them to become competitive trades men and women in private and public sectors.
Conclusion

In summary, our government's ministry of education should take on board media education as one power center to build academic capacities of our students starting from primary right up to tertiary level.

Teachers and lecturers should also be reviewed again on mastery of communication studies. Remember we cannot have quality human resources now and in future if we cannot accurately comunicate and transfer important knowledge to our children. Media education can synergize learning for students, teachers and lecturers likewise.

Also, educational researchers and developmental practitioners should now look closely on how media can act as a vehicle to address the threat of low literacy at each level of our education system. Intervention strategies can then be devised to provide for students participation in the media industry.

Finally, knowledge has a dynamic power. Great power. Definitely, the media is a good tool to lever this.

Do we want to see Solomon Islands a powerful nation in future?

What should we do? Read more, write more, publish more?

The God of this country is waiting to render assistance to young Solomon Islanders who are determined to act and make positive use of the media power house.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Charles P K Sisimia and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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