Students of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) are saddened by a directive from management demanding colleagues who were unable to settle fees before a deadline defer their programmes, a week to the end of semester examinations.

Note that the school is neither specifically asking those unable to pay penalties or settle the fees in actuality to defer, but everyone that was unable to meet the January 8 deadline.

Per definition, these are persons who struggled through the dire ramifications of a global pandemic, facing hassles like lost jobs, shrunken income and perhaps loan debts…just like some members of the board.

Post-conceding to a fee increment undeterred by these hitches, no efforts were made to create an enabling environment for studies, especially when migration to online platforms was without due prudence instigated after a two-week on-site lecture period.

Our cell phones haven’t ceased to buzz with constant notifications and unabating lamentations to a system that has constantly failed to meet the needs of its patronizers, since the official release of the school’s meagre communiqué.

The holy question on the lips of every concerned student, both affected and unaffected by the insensitive directive is how much compensation would be effected for time and resources lost – or perhaps wasted – doing academic work during the last eight weeks?

Dropping hashtags on social media and marching relentlessly through a kitchen-sized campus, students have in the last two years held demonstrations, advocating for either free and fair elections, a cause to rescind decisions towards an illegitimate fee increase, an unfairly constituted Student Representative Council (SRC) et cetera.

24 – Here’s the number of times GIJ has been a major headline the last three years, half the time of which is premised on aforementioned infamous reasons. Notable cases in point:

December 2, 2018 – “Let us write our exam”- Angry GIJ students cry out as they demonstrate over E-registration – as reported by online news portal, Prime News Ghana.

April 16, 2020 – Angry GIJ students kick against online exams – per reports by Ghanaweb.com.

May 14, 2020 – Anger, as ‘insensitive’ GIJ management demand more money from students – PAK Media Ghana

September 17, 2020 – UG, GIJ students oppose increase in fees for 2020/21 academic year – Myjoyonline.com.

For a University that doubles as a Public Relations Institute, this is the absolute worse it could get, with its egoistic dictums and repressive leadership. I vividly recall a colleague refer to management as an administrative regime – a take to which me and any3mim3 nod in unison.

I feel our management acts like a disappointed celebrity; losing media attention for a minute and then decide ‘hey, why don’t we initiate something utterly preposterous and absolutely inconsiderate just to make the news one more time?’, because it’s inconceivable to bear the financial and physical burden or a four-year educational term, only to be ordered to defer your programme over an inability to settle fees within a stipulated time, despite the additional sweat of a GH₵ 200 penalty.

In this connection, it is suggestively evident that after some 62 years, Osagyefo’s establishment is only concerned today about its finances rather than upholding its vision and mission and imparting knowledge.

This notwithstanding, the aggrieved and exasperated yet urbane student body of the Ghana Institute of Journalism is counter demanding management to abrogate its decision to have our members defer their programmes on the back of genuine reasons for their failure to meet deadlines.

We are equally demanding that the student body is henceforth adequately represented in all matters likely to affect the sanity of our members.

The Masked Penman is a student of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ)