Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) is one of the premier communication university in Sub-Saharan Africa. It has trained countless professionals across the continent. But the school, established by the first President of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is still endowed with pertinent issues.
The most discussed and uncertain issue on campus is how students dress to lectures and other related functions.
It is stipulated in the GIJ Undergraduate Handbook, page 60 that students are required to dress decently and comport themselves on campus.
“Students shall dress respectably for classes/lectures”(Pg. 60, 7.8.1).
But looking at how students dress to campus, one would ask, does the school’s dressing code really works or is there anyone in authority responsible to ensure it works effectively?
The former Rector of GIJ, Dr. Wilberforce Dzisah, in his speech during the 17th Matriculation ceremony in 2016, stressed on indecent dressing among GIJ student and indicated Managements decision to enforce the rules.
“Since the beginning of lectures this semester, management has noted with concern an increase in indecent dressing by students. We wish to refer students to the handbook, specifically page 60, which deals with comportment. Management will apply sanctions with regard to any violation of the dress code,” he cautioned.
With regard to the caution, students and other interested individuals shared their thoughts, “lambasted” management and the decision, including the ban on mini-skirts, and was later canceled.
A comment from a vociferous female journalist with Citi Fm, who opposed the decision to ban mini-skirts on campus wrote a story headlined, “GIJ students need more Grammer than clothes ban”. Suggesting to management to put resilient measures to improve on students’ grammar rather than emphasizing on dressing.
“The problem with this ban isn’t that it is sexist, and very, very stupid but that instead of concerning itself with what is needed to train journalists who tell compelling stories and speak truth to power, the GIJ management is focused on the clothes of students,” She stressed.
God MC Manifest also raised his concerns about the ban in an interview he had with Viasat1 celebrity fanzone and admonished school authorities to prioritize teaching students how to think outside the box.
“I think what we need to be doing is encouraging critical thinking in schools. These other things are distractions and honestly this is how I feel about it,” the rapper stated.
Some students of the institute also said,”It is a professional Tertiary Institution but we don’t have a particular dress code therefore students can do whatever they want.” We are old enough to do whatever pleases us. We are here to study so why will management concern themselves with our dressing,” a student stated.
DRESSING AS A FORM OF COMMUNICATION
Dressing is a form of communication hence the position of Management should not have been debunked by students and other personalities especially in a professional school like GIJ which train communicators (PR and Journalism).
Prior to the increase of indecent dressing on campus, some Lecturers deny students who are indecently dressed at their lectures. One might argue that, GIJ as a training Institute should guide students to dress decently to fit into the corporate business world since “Charity they say begin at home”.
IMAGE OF THE SCHOOL/STUDENTS
Corporate institutions particularly the media houses complain about GIJ students’ exposure, experience and performance both in writing and presentation (journalistic style) because of inadequate skills and practice students’ acquire during their school days.
With regard to this issue, it has created a bad reputation about the school and GIJ students as a whole.
The decision was good. But lacked stakeholders consultation and/or involvement. GIJ students through the Students’ Representative Council(SRC) should engage with management and find a lasting solution to this most deliberated issue. Is equally important to talk about dressing as any other subject in training good communicators.
Conclusively, our conscience should guide us as students to make an informed decision about our dressing. Dressing, as part of every culture, communicates a lot.
Story by Ntsiful Belinda