History of Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ)

Vision

To be the leading and foremost Mass Communication and Journalism training Institution in Africa, “the Centre of Communication Excellence” in the near term.

Mission

An Institution dedicated to Mass Communication and Journalism training and retraining through the use of all-round curriculum and state-of-the-art equipment in an environment conducive to critical thinking, learning, sound character, professionalism, ethical standards research and academic productivity.

History of Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ)

The Nigerian Institute of Journalism started in 1963 as one of the two experimental schools of Journalism in Africa established by the Zurich-based International Press Institute (IPI) in Lagos and Nairobi, Kenya respectively. Prior to the establishment of the two schools of Journalism, aspiring journalists in Africa had little or no opportunity for formal training. Most of them were forced to learn on the job the basic skills of the profession. Few that had the benefit for formal education obtained that in professional institutions in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom.

The IPI, which is the international professional organization of media executives devoted to the advancement of press freedom and professionalism among practitioners worldwide, saw the absence of formal training opportunity in Africa as a major barrier to the development of the profession on the continent. Consequently, the organization decided, in accordance with its global objectives to establish the two experimental schools in Lagos and Nairobi.

The IPI Lagos experiment (NIJ) suffered a temporary setback shortly after its establishment. The school was forced to close in 1965 because of the political crisis in the country and subsequent Civil War. But four years later, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, the President of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) spearheaded a move to resuscitate the IPI experiment in Nigeria.

In 1970, NPAN, in collaboration with Nigerian Guild of Editors, appointed a committee of experts to consider the need for establishing an institute of Journalism in Nigeria. The committee recommended the establishment of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism and its report was accepted by the Proprietors and th Guild. At the request of both NPAN and the Guild, the Executive Board of IPI decide to support the project and in particular to provide a Director for the initial years. Thus, NIJ was founded on October 12, 1971.

The philosophy of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism is fashioned in accordance with the guidelines of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), the statutory body set up by the Federal Government to manage and control all matters relating to monotechnics and polytechnics. NBTE emphasizes that the national philosophy and objectives on education should be the framework within which all institutions must define their philosophy and general operational objectives.

The five main national objectives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which have been endorsed as the necessary foundation for the National Policy on Education (NPE) are:
  • a free and democratic society
  • a just and egalitarian society
  • a united, strong and self-reliant nation
  • a great and dynamic economy
  • a land of bright and full opportunities for all citizens
The country's philosophy on education is therefore based on the "integration of the individual into a sound and effective citizen and equal educational opportunities for all citizens of the nation at primary, secondary and tetiary levels both inside and outside the formal school system" (NPE Revised, 1981) section 1, Para 2). As emphasized by the Federal Government, for the philosophy to be in harmony with Nigeria's national objectives, it has to be geared towards self-realization, better human relatonship, individual and national efficiency, effective citizenship, national consciousness, national unity, as well as towards social, cultural, economic, political, scientific and technological progress (NPE Revised, 1981 section 1, Para 4). The national education aims and objectives to which the philosophy is linked include:
  • The inculcation of national consciousness and national unity.
  • The inculcation of the right types of values and attitudes for the survival of the individual and the Nigerial Society.
  • The training of the mind in the understanding of the world around
  • The acquisition of approppriate skills, abilities and competence both mentall and physical as equipment for the individual to live in and contribute to the development of the society
  • To engage in the teaching, research and development of communication studies in Nigeria
  • To conduct examinations in Mass Communication and related discipline and award certificates, diplomas, degrees and postgraduates qualifications
  • To promote and sustain professional standards in practice of Journalism through exchange programmes in collaboration with other similar institutions in Nigeria and the other parts of the world.
  • To engage in the publication of books, journals and other professional materials
  • To conduct seminars, workshops and training programmes to update the standards of knowledge and skill of persons seeking to be trained in Mass Communication, Journalism and Marketing Communications
  • To cooperate with other professional organizations and educational institutions in related fields for research
  • To award honorary fellowhips to deserving persons in Nigeria and abroad for distinguished contribution to the Journalism profession
  • To perform such other functions the Governing Council may approve from time to time

Since its inception, the institution's main thrust in meeting these broad objectives has been the training of middle-level manpower for the media. Its courses were thus designed to provide necessary skills and professional ethics for those who function in the media. The policy was in consonance with the need in the 60s and 70s to afford aspiring jounalist in Nigeria the opportunity for formal training. Changing manpower need in the growing media industry in Nigeria has compelled an elaboration of the original programme orientation of the institiution. It is in line with this that the institution was upgraded to a full fledge monotechnic.