Ghana’s failing economy is evident in various institutions and the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) which is Ghana’s premier communication institution is no exception even in its sixtieth year.
The school was established by the first president of the republic, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, to train people from other African countries to play an effective role in the freedom of the African continent.
The school which was formerly school of journalism was a department at the Accra Technical University. In 1974, the National Redemption Council (NRC), passed a legislative instrument (NRCD 275) formally establishing the GIJ.
Kwame Nkrumah, had a dream for Ghana and Africa and believed the media, would be a major player to make his dream come true. The media served as a strong tool for the attainment of independence in 1957.
GIJ, has achieved a lot since its establishment, a major one is that, it got the presidential charter, establishing it as a university in 2009.
When it comes to the issue of accommodation, the school has totally failed. The school’s authority promised relocating to North Dzorwulu, which has well designed infrastructure, including hostel facilities to accommodate the entire student body but to no avail.
The availability of hostel facilities in any tertiary institution is a necessity, since it helps students actively partake in school activities.
The problem of accommodation is a worry to every student in GIJ. Students have been lamenting over this issue for years now but nothing seems to have been done about it.
This issue of accommodation, has paved way for some entrepreneurs to use their houses as private hostels for students. Some of these hostels are not in good shape but students have no option than to live in them and since the hostels are just a few, the managers tend to extort from the students. Some hostel managers charge as much as 2000gh per semester. It is outrageous, right? And some do not even treat the students well but these students have no option than to stay.
This, according to students is not aiding academic work since they do not have a conducive environment at their various apartments and hostels to study. This is as a result of the fact that, there are no study rooms in their various apartments and hostels.
Speaking to a level 200 student who gave her name as Juliet, she said, “I come from Somanya in the Eastern Region of Ghana and didn’t have any relative near the school so I had to search for a hostel with my dad in the neighborhood, yes we got about three hostels close to the school but they were all expensive and we had to choose the one which we could afford. It was very frustrating but that was our only option and I’m still in that hostel paying huge sums of money for accommodation even though I was told we’ll move to North Dzorwulu soon.”
Another student called, Cindy had this to say, “I’m often tired whenever I get to class because when I alight at the headquarters, I need to walk from there to campus since I can’t afford dropping. My worst experience was being late for a paper and being denied the right to write the paper because I was an hour behind the start time due to heavy traffic in town. I was referred in that paper. I hated GIJ for that” was her last remark.
The performances of students are being affected by this situation and for that matter, the need for something to be done about it as soon as possible.To know what authorities are doing about it and also to confirm if indeed it is affecting academic performance, I spoke to the Student Representative Council’s (henceforth SRC) General Secretary, NaaAdoleyMoffatt in the absence of the president and this is what she had to say, “for the time being, we can’t put up a building for students but rather to negotiate with interesting persons to use their houses as hostels for student at an affordable price. The effect on academic performance is very true but it is up to us, as students to put in more efforts and overlook these problems to improve on our academic work”.
The time has come for our politicians and school authorities to put an end to the unfulfilled promises and solve this problem to benefit students and the school at large. We need not to forget that, GIJ can get better as the 60 years it deserves, when our leaders, alumni and of course students collectively make an effort towards achieving that goal.
Like the lyrics of our anthem says, “in unison we respond to the call to serve our societies and nation”, let us then respond to this call with urgency to inspire the future.
Your vision is still in existence Nkrumah; GIJ at 60!
Patricia Ampomaa Love Teye,
Level 300 student,
Ghana Institute of Journalism.