Believed to present a consolidated front perfect fit for harnessing the potentials of students, government’s proposed merger of the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Ghana Institute of Languages, and the National Film and Television Institute could best pass as a day late and a dollar short, particularly for the former.
Granted its presidential charter by president J. A Kufuor in 2009, and establishing it as self-exist university with the ability to award certificates, diplomas, and degrees, the Ghana Institute of journalism is yet to be accorded the apt courtesies of a full-fledged university, but it turns out that will also remain a mirage as news of a proposed merger lurks in the background.
Nearly a fortnight since the indication of this merger, my colleagues and I have been trying to assess its possible impact on the institution and the students. Already, we’ve identified some discrepancies, causing us to raise questions with the quality of consultation done before it was made public. For resistance, the Education Minister, Mathew Opoku Prempeh’s claim of the institutions lacking what it took to be universities was one bit we found completely astonishing and worth debunking.
For the records though, the Ghana institute of Journalism is the only institution among the three with a charter to award its certificates, diplomas, degrees, and to exist as a university. In fact, the Ghana institute of Journalism is a university by virtue of its presidential charter. Good guess to say, the minister goofed when he made this assertion, a case which feeds into our overreaction bit over the quality of consultation done prior to the announcement of this merger.
Again, the merger raises more questions than answers. Majority of students are puzzled and finding it difficult to explain what lies in for them, since there was no detailed explanation whatsoever with the regards to its implementation.
Worse still, we reckon lumping up GIJ with the two other institutions simply because it bears the tag ‘’institute’’ does not sit well with us. The Ghana institute of Journalism may be among the ‘’professional institute bracket’’ but it is a cut – above the rest owing to some inroads it’s made to acquire its own charter.
It will be recalled that the then Institute of professional Studies (IPS) acquired a presidential charter to become what is now known as the University of Professional Studies (UPSA). Question is, what will it take for the Ghana Institute of Journalism to accorded its rightful name as a Communication university?
Established in 1959, the institute has been the leading light of Ghanaian communication education in Ghana and by extension West Africa. Despite its facility deficit the institute continues to churn out students who are impacting the field of communication. Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Kweku Sekyi Addo, Emma Morrison, Gifty Bingley are but a few alumni the institute has honed over the past 59 years.
Much as a merger may come in handy, it’s rather too late to the party, especially as the institute prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary with plans well advanced for passage of a bill for a name change.
GIJ since its 59 years of reign as a specialized communication institution, has paid the dues and therefore deserves the accolade of a full-fledged university with measures taken to address its facility gap to meet the changing world of communication.
What’s more? GIJ got all it takes to deserve a seat at the table of universities and we can’t say this enough.
Bright Opoku Boamah
Ghana Institute of Journalism
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