The launch of this programme, which is equivalent to an honours degree, coincides with the increased adoption of online and other forms of distance and remote learning and teaching by higher education institutions worldwide because of the disruption of face-to-face learning and teaching by the global health pandemic Covid-19.
Francis Mdlongwa, director of Rhodes University’s Sol Plaatje Institute (SPI) for Media Leadership, which offers the PGDip in Media Management, said: ‘‘I hope that many African media professionals who wish to improve and sharpen both their academic and media management and leadership credentials will take advantage of this course, which we designed specifically in response to many calls to do so from the field.
‘‘Upon completion of this qualification, the only formal qualification in media management in Africa and the developing world, candidates can enrol directly onto a master's degree in several allied disciplines such as media entrepreneurship; marketing and advertising; digital media management; journalism and media studies; strategic management of media; among many others.”
Professor Anthea Garman, the acting head of Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies, which includes the SPI, commented: ‘‘I’m very pleased that a course, which has prepared so many students and media workers for a career in media management is taking this new form and will become available to many more who can’t take time to do such a valuable course in residence.”
The distance PGDip in Media Management will be run over two academic years and will employ a variety of teaching and learning delivery modes, including using online teaching and learning platforms.
In quality terms and indeed in the range and variety of modules learnt and assessed, it will be exactly the same qualification as that offered to full-time students over one academic year since 2004.
The PGDip in Media Management is accredited at the honours degree level, at the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level eight, by South Africa’s Qualifications Authority (Saqa). This is the same NQF level as that of an honours degree.
The course develops the strategic knowledge, understandings and work competencies that media managers and leaders need to apply to run media organisations in the public, commercial and community sectors sustainably and ethically in rapidly changing media conditions, as witnessed today where hundreds of media companies are closing and retrenching tens of thousands of journalists worldwide.
“The course is for those who particularly wish to create for themselves higher-order understanding and contextualisation of increasingly more complex challenges that face the management of today's media organisations than in any past era… and on how to exploit emerging opportunities in a discontinuous media environment of incessant change, including the latest changes brought on by Covid-19,’’ Mdlongwa noted.
The full-time and distance courses will run in tandem from January next year. The entrance requirements for the PGDip in Media Management is an undergraduate degree in any discipline. However, for the distance course, consideration will be given to admitting some students based on the recognition of their prior learning and other conditions to encourage greater access to the course by previously disadvantaged students.
The SPI, set up by Rhodes University in 2002 to address a critical shortage of highly skilled and agile managers and leaders of media organisations in Africa, has graduated more than 600 full-time students, many of whom today hold senior positions in the media and communications industries in Africa and internationally.
Applications for both qualifications and students are already open and prospective students are encouraged to apply early by visiting the Rhodes University Postgraduate portal at https://www.ru.ac.za/postgraduategateway/.
For more information on the PGDip in Media Management, interested individuals can also contact the Administrative Coordinator of the course at email@example.com. They can also visit the SPI’s website at www.ru.ac.za/spi/