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IRIS 2010-5:1/40


Concept of Media Education

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Jana Markechova

Markechova Law Offices

On 16 December 2009 the Government adopted the “Concept of Media Education in the Slovak Republic in the Context of Lifelong Learning” (hereinafter referred to as “Concept”). This Concept has been elaborated according to the Government Programme.

The requirement to create conditions for the realisation of media education results from various EU documents that underline the importance of information technology. According to Council Directive 89/552/EEC (transposed into Slovak law by Act No. 498/2009 Coll., see IRIS 2009-9:18) the member states are obliged to submit to the European Commission a report on the state of media literacy every three years.

To elaborate on the concept the Ministry of Culture created a working group in February 2009 members of which were also representatives of schools, churches, NGOs and other professionals. The Concept examines the present state of education in this area and defines the objectives, strategy and conditions for an effective system of media education in the context of lifelong learning. One of the main goals of media education is to teach every age group a responsible attitude towards media content, educate the public to use new communication technologies and protect minors against illegal and inappropriate content.

At present there is no link between the activities in media literacy and the formal and informal education. The Concept therefore suggests the creation of a Centre for Media Education from 1 January 2011 that shall be incorporated into the structures of the Ministry of Culture. The Centre is going to co-ordinate activities in the field of media education, carry out research, make suggestions on different projects within the system and co-operate with other relevant subjects.

The Concept points out, in line with the Resolution of the European Parliament 2008/2129(INI), that media literacy should provide information about the issues of copyright, respect for intellectual property and ensure the security of data and protection of privacy. A literate user of media should be provided with information about risks regarding the protection of personal data and the danger of spreading violence over the Internet.

The system of media education should be divided into four basic levels according to age groups: media education for children of pre-school age, children at primary school, high-school children and adults. The first three levels should be oriented on forming a critical and selective approach towards media content and create basic knowledge from the field of media and communication technologies. Media education of adults should try to update the acquired knowledge. Lifelong learning can provide individuals with the necessary competence to re-enter professional circles.

Pursuant to the Concept, the precondition for achieving the goals of media education is the creation of a system with sufficient personal, material and technical resources. According to the experience of other European countries where media literacy has an established tradition, the system of media education is based on several pillars. These are mainly:

- the incorporation of media education into school curricula,

- a system of evaluation of media literacy,

- the existence of a stable public institution which co-ordinates these issues,

- the participation of media in these activities and programmes,

- motivation and assistance programmes focused on media made by individuals,

- the existence of research.

A fundamental precondition for the functioning of the media education system is the designation of a co-ordination authority and the division of competence among the individual participating subjects. A strong position should be given to non-governmental entities.

In the area of public service, the competence is going to be divided between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry of Education should regulate and be responsible for the formal education, accreditation of university programmes and the preparation of teachers. The Ministry of Culture will establish a Centre which will submit reports on the present state of media education every three years.

Other subjects that shall have responsibility in this area include universities (research), regulatory bodies (with focus on the protection of minors), the Audiovisual Fund (financial support), public media (support, promotion) and also non-governmental organisations.

The Concept states that the conditions necessary to attain the aforementioned goals are already present in the Slovak Republic.

Koncepcia mediálnej výchovy v Slovenskej republike v kontexte celoživotného vzdelávania SK
  Concept of Media Education in the Slovak Republic in the Context of Lifelong Learning, December 2009