This study was set to examine the role of formal journalism education on journalist’s professional practice in Enugu state. The population for the study is the entire registered journalists practicing in Enugu. Multi-stage sampling procedure which involved cluster and simple random sampling techniques was used to draw a sample size of 137 journalists from the population of 210 registered journalists in Enugu state. Survey methodology was adopted for the study, while two theories were found relevant for the study. They are: social responsibility theory and development media theory. The study found that majority of journalists practicing in Enugu state do not have a degree in Journalism/ Mass Communication but have in other disciplines. Many of them hold a degree in English language. The study also made a shocking finding that some people practice journalism as SSCE or OND holders. This could account for low level of professionalism recorded in the practice. The study recommends among others that: The Nigerian union of journalists should review the criteria for deciding who is qualified to practice journalism. The basic requirement should include possessing a degree in Mass Communication/ Journalism. Beyond possessing a degree in mass communication, fresh graduates should gain from the experience of others by undergoing internship programs before being certified to practice journalism as a first step towards attaining professionalism in the field. 

1.1 Background of the Study
Education as a critical component of a country’s human capital increases the efficiency of an individual worker (WEF, 2016).
Huang and Liu (2005) believe that intellectual capital (knowledge) is a critical force that is responsible for economic growth. There is a common perception that educated people can do certain tasks easily and efficiently compared to the uneducated or those who are less educated. Vugt (2006) asserts that lack of education and knowledge makes a person crippled and inefficient. He reveals that previous studies have found that education increases job satisfaction. Wright and Davis (2003) believes that education will foster an increase in professionalism and further exploitation of management, whereas a lack of it will cause lack of job satisfaction. Priti (1999) believes that educated individuals know the scope, expectations and depth of their jobs and will be able to add building blocks to their professionalism as they progress through their careers.  Education also promotes core task performance by providing individuals with more declarative and procedural knowledge with which they can complete their task successfully. It is generally believed that good education helps in preparing individuals for more effectiveness in their profession.

(WJEC, 2007) established that journalism education provides the foundation as theory, research and training for effective and responsible practice of journalism. In 2013, the census of journalism education programs kept by the World Journalism Education Council (WJEC) listed almost 2,400 programs globally. In 2007 and in 2013, UNESCO released model curricula for journalism education (Beate, 2016).UNESCO’s support for journalism education is underpinned by a strong conviction that professional journalistic standards are essential to bring out the potential of media systems to foster democracy, dialogue and development. With respect to this, so many efforts has been made to ensure quality education in journalism that will have an impact on the practice.

In Nigeria, several professions have boundaries. They have regulated educational programs that individuals must undergo before being inducted and given license to practice such profession. Such professions like Law, Engineering, Accounting, Medicine, Nursing, etc enjoy a high sense of respect because the processes that one must go through before being admitted into such professions are clearly identified and strictly followed.

Ironically, journalism, which is widely seen as the conscience of society does not have such clearly set out regulations on who should be allowed to practice journalism. It is believed that some people who practice journalism did not have to obtain a formal education in journalism. The practice of journalism in Nigeria has courted great controversies especially in relation to educational qualifications, ethical regulation and adherence to professional precepts.Talabi and Ogundeji(2012) note that journalism is an esteemed profession that has a lot to offer in the reformation of the society; unfortunately in Nigeria, it has become an all-comers affair as individuals with no media qualifications dive into the mass media for livelihood. They also observed that it has now become a truism that low literacy rate contributes to a low degree of journalism training and also to a low standard of journalistic performance. Journalism profession has suffered serious setbacks in its developmental processes in Nigeria because; the nation has not given priority to degree programmes in journalism. Instead graduates from other disciplines such as Political Science, Economics, Sociology, English and others are given on-the-job training in journalism.

Akinfeleye (1990) quoted an American critic, Dean Rosco Pound who once wrote that every profession is governed by certain rules, educational qualifications and the absence of such rules makes it a vocation. For a very long time Nigerian scholars, professionals and practitioners have argued as to whether journalism is a profession or not in Nigeria. Some scholars and practitioners of journalism in Nigeria say journalism is a trade, others say it is a craft or an occupation while the rest simply say it is a vocation. .

Talabi and Ogundeji(2012) says that colonial rulers in Nigeria and their succeeding “Nigerian-Europeans” regarded journalism education as unnecessary undertaking. This view partly accounts for the reason why for many years all Nigerian universities did not offer any formal journalism training. Fortunately, the situation is different now. Many universities and polytechnics now offer courses in Mass Communication or Journalism. These institutions train students to become professional communicators. However, many still get into journalism practice without formal higher education that prepares them specifically for the job. The former Abuja bureau chief of The Tide newspaper, Alloys Nweke, during the January 2008 Nigerian union of journalists (NUJ) summit in Port Harcourt frowned at the numerous untrained journalists bestriding the streets with pen and paper claiming to be journalists. Nweke revealed that the number of untrained and fake journalists in Nigeria is higher than the trained journalists.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
From the background of the study, it is evident that scholars believe that formal education is very important for effectiveness and efficiency of professionals in every field of endeavor. However, in most media organizations in Nigeria, it is observed that people are employed to work as journalists without necessarily possessing formal education in journalism or mass communication obtained from institutions of higher learning. Some attend some weeks ‘certification courses and parade themselves as professional journalists. It is like an all-comer affairs unlike what obtains in such professions as medicine, nursing, law, engineering, medical laboratory science and others, which require one to be specifically trained in such field in an institution of higher learning accredited for that purpose.
This study seeks to ascertain if obtaining formal education in journalism/mass communication has any positive role on the performance of journalists practicing in Enugu state.

1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to examine whether obtaining a formal education in journalism or mass communication plays any significant role in the professional performance of those practicing journalism in Enugu state
The specific objectives are:
1.        To determine the number of journalists practicing journalism with formal education in Journalism/ Mass Communication to those practicing Journalism without formal education in Journalism/ Mass Communication in Enugu.
2.        To ascertain the extent to which journalists’ professional performance is dependent on formal journalism education.
3.        To determine the extent to which performance in journalism profession is dependent on talent and skills.
4.        To ascertain the extent to which obtaining a formal education in journalism contributes to career progress and promotion.

1.4 Research Questions
To guide the conduct of this research, the following questions were raised:
1.          What is the number of journalists with formal education in Journalism/ Mass Communication to those without formal education in Journalism/ Mass Communication in Enugu state?
2.          To what extent is a journalist’s professional performance dependent on formal journalism education?
3.          To what extent is performance in Journalism profession dependent on talents and skills?
4.          To what extent does obtaining a formal education in Journalism contribute to career progress and promotion?

1.5 Scope of the Study
The study seeks to ascertain the role of formal education on journalist’s professional performance in Enugu state. The scope covers only journalists who practice journalism as registered journalists in Enugu state.

1.6 Significance of the Study
This research work is aimed at determining the role formal education plays in the professional performance of journalists in Enugu state. This research work will be significant in different ways.
One, this research work will add to already existing literature on the role of formal education in professional efficiency.
Similarly, the result of this research work will serve as reference bank for subsequent researchers intending to study the role of formal education on journalists’ professional performance.
The result of this research work will also be of interest to leaders of the Nigeria Union of Journalists as they take decisions about who is qualified to be accepted and registered as a journalist.

1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Formal Education- formal education in Journalism/Mass communication in an accredited institution of higher learning.
Journalism- The gathering, assessing, creating and presenting news and information.
Journalist-a journalist is a person who collects, writes, or distributes news or other current information to the public
Professional- a person formally certified by a professional body of belonging to a specific profession by virtue of behaving completed a required course of studies and/ or practice. And whose competence can usually be measured against an established set of standards.
Performance-The accomplishment of a given task measured against preset known standards.
Talents- Natural abilities and strengths that enable an individual excel at something.
Skills- Expertise needed to do a job or task.

Career- An occupation in journalism.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 68 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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