Many had waited for a naked piece from me on the deferral issue. This is why I’m doing this to channel my strength to helping solve the problem. I noticed that some of the affected students could be my elder brothers and sisters and even guardians, and silence was certainly a betrayal from a young boy like me. I had to tell my brothers and sisters that I felt what they felt and was still hopeful that something could be done.
Management and student relationship is a contract. Usually, Management directs students to pay certain amount of money in order to enjoy certain services in return. And after fulfilling this, we don’t even get the service rendered to us. We live in an educational institution where decisions are made to satisfy the whims and caprices of those at the helm of affairs. My heart bleeds and I become irate whenever such terrible, heartless and uncompromising issues arise.
Students of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) are worried, disappointed and disheartened 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. In fact, this follows an unapproved 5% increment in fees for students, ahead of the 2020/2021 academic year.
Prior to the increment of the fees, students opposed the decision and further issued various pleas, contesting the it, however, the pleas were not taken into consideration by management. The fees for regular students pursuing the Institute’s Bachelor in Communication Studies programme which initially was GH¢2,400 was subsequently increased to GH¢2,520.00.
And those pursuing a Diploma in Communication Studies (Regular and Weekend) were required to pay GH¢2,310.00 as academic fees while level 300 Top-up fresh students (Weekend), currently pay GH¢3,100 whereas their colleagues in level 400’s fees have been increased to GH¢2,730.00.
The fee for first-year Diploma in Communication Studies (evening) students is now GH¢2,660.00 whilst their colleagues in the weekend class pay GH¢2,900.00. Meanwhile, per the Fees and Charges Act, all fees and charges must receive parliamentary ratification before coming into effect.
Bear in mind 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, 2021 deadline. Could it be the case of incompetence or sheer insensitivity or perhaps lack of empathy to the suffering of students especially in these abnormal times? Only crime is that we’re students but it’s been years since we tolerated the abuse. We can’t allow ourselves to be suffocated by people who don’t regard us.
One must not forget that these are persons who struggled through the dire ramifications of a global pandemic, facing hassles like lost jobs, shrunken income and perhaps loan debts. Many students pay their own fees for goodness sake and that’s just a fraction of their responsibilities. I think that if management of GIJ will temper justice with mercy, it will go a long way to cushion some of the affected students.
In all honesty, we are not in normal times and as such some parents have lost jobs owing to the pandemic. We are pleading with management of GIJ to rescind their decision. Management can issue another communique for students who couldn’t meet the payment deadline to write the exams and a penalty payment inevitable.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of the Republic of Ghana brought internationally-recognized journalist and journalism teacher, Richard Macmillan, from the United Kingdom (UK) in 1959 which culminated in the establishment of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). This institution was the first of its kind in Africa and had since churned out some of the best journalists who are well-versed in communication skills not only for Ghana but across the length and breadth of Africa.
Let’s embrace the rationale behind the establishment of this Institute and work assiduously in lifting its image. I stand in solidarity with all GIJ students who are being ill-treated and being made to bear this inhumane management decision.
The author, Bright Philip Donkor is a social commentator and an activist who believes in fairness and equity as panacea to a lasting peace and tranquility in the society.