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Opinions of Saturday, 17 April 2010

Columnist: Anamoah, Jerome

GIJ Under Scrutiny

As a student of the Ghnana Institute of Journalism,I write with a heavy heart.I still vividly recall how I gloated over the news of my admission to the Institute,after I had seen my name in the Daily Graphic.Arguably Africa’s maiden School of Journalism,the GIJ has been the nurturing grounds for a number of Journalists in Ghana today.An overwhelming majority of journalists in Ghana today went through that Institute,where their skills of writing were finely honed.The Osagyefo,peace be to Him,deserves praise for setting up the GIJ.Some fity years after its inception,the GIJ is now a fully-fledged University.It would be recalled that GIJ received its charter a few months ago,from His Excellency President Mills.It must be said,however,that the erstwhile Kuffour regime had already done some work regarding the institute’s attainment of its current status.As a young man,it’s disappointing to realise that events within the GIJ appear to have taken a nosedive.

The GIJ outlives all Journalism training schools in Ghana and ensured the survival of Journalism, even in some of the most trying circumstances in our history.It’s quite sad to realise that the GIJ has no standby electricity generator.Whenever there is power outage, lectures come to an abrupt end, as the lecture halls become so hot.I was quite chargrined a few days ago, when I saw my colleagues being lectured under trees! This is insufferable, especially when juxtaposed with the stature of the Institute.Besides, all our lecture halls are small and cramped.Upon inquiry, I was glad to learn that plans are afoot to commence work on the Institute’s site around Okponglo, Legon, as the funds have already been released by the Mills Administration.However, in the face of recent incessant power outages, the lack of a generator is beginning to weigh heavily against the progress of lectures.

Again,It is equally appalling to note that the Institute has no Radio or Televison studio.As would-be communicators, it’s proper to get hands-on experience in our chosen fields of study.We have largely been going through the theorotical aspects of our courses,to the detriment of an equally important practical aspect.Quite frankly,I can’t overlook the fact that we have some semblance of a studio,where to the best of my knowlegde,pictures are developed and which also serves as a repository of films and photographs. Even though we have great lecturers, the practical aspect of our courses,it must be said, is still integral to our success.Whereas we are more or less a bunch of amateurs when it comes to writing,the communicator newspaper might come in handy for those seeking to develop skills meant for the print media.

Next,I also feel let down badly by the Students’ Representative Council of the Ghana Institute of Journalism.Beyond its organic role of organizing freshers’ parties and tours,it has done little to assert itself.The SRC president’s pechant for writing articles is commendable but I challenge him to bequeath us a better legacy: assertiveness! Lest I forget, I’m not urging intransigence on the part of the SRC; I’m neither approving of an antagonistic attitude, I just want the status quo challenged! The SRC cannot be oblivious of the myriad of problems that require attention! It appears, I regret to say, events point to an insidious trend towards complete docility, if that is not the case already. Furthermore,I’m compelled to discuss on this platform,issues that are core to the day-to-day administration of the Institute,albeit reluctantly.I sincerely pray NOT to attract odium for merely expressing my candid opinions.Perhaps this is an extension of the parameters of our intellectual dicourse analysis.The presentation of the charter was awesome,as many of us thought that would definitely necessitate some concomitant changes in the Administrative hierarchy of the Institute.Having been elevated to a fully-fledged university, GIJ can now run master’s and doctrate degree courses.These Changes have yet to be seen! And the contents of the Institute’s statutes are horrifying.These statutes are not only highly contentious, they also portend danger…If portions of the statutes dictate that the minimum requirement for a lecturer is a doctorate degree,how then can the requirement for the rector be a master’s degree? This is not far-fetched; I wish to challenge those who’re skeptical to go through the Institute’s statutes. This is preposterous! With due respect, can somebody tell me whether they know a single university in Ghana that is run or headed by master’s degree holders?

In conclusion,the Institute is not doing too well,as it is not apt for comparison with its peers.The National Council for Tertiary Education must act now.These developments do not augur well for the progress of the Institute and students.The last time I checked,not even a polytechnic is run by a master’s degree holder.My brothers and sisters in the polytechnics,I don’t intend to demean you at all.Beyond this article,I intend to pursue of this issue.Changes must take place in the Institute that reflect its new status and now is the time. As we“pass through” GIJ, so must it also “pass through” us! Long live the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

Jerome Anamoah

Writer’s a proud student of GIJ. E-mail: