The Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) on Wednesday launched its School of Graduate Studies and Research, to provide in-depth training in Communication Research Methods, and open new opportunities for research works in Journalism and other Communication related areas.
The occasion was also used to officially introduce four Master’s programmes in the areas of Journalism, Public Relations, Media Management and Development Communication, which were approved in 2013 by the National Accreditation Board.
Mr David Newton, Rector of the Institute in an address said the programme would provide a blend of practical experience with rigorous academic analysis to help broaden the intellectual scope of both students and practitioners.
He said these middle-level professionals would add more quality and technological innovations to the changing trends in the media industry.
He said in all, the programme would assist to expand the frontiers of democratic governance and stimulate investment as well as the development of highly skilled self-motivated individuals, who would inject greater efficiency into the various layers of national development.
He explained that a strong motivation in designing the Master’s Programme was to reduce the financial resources spent by the Government of Ghana, corporate entities and individuals to educate such professionals and students outside the country.
Mr Newton indicated that the launch of the Master’s Programme marked another important milestone in the annals of the Institute which had risen from a humble beginning as a Diploma awarding Institute in 1959 to a fully-fledged University with its own Charter to award its own Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates.
“Having run the diploma programme for over 50 years and degree programmes for over 10 years, the Institute has certainly come of age to start its own post graduate programmes”, he said.
He said the four Masters’ programme had been carefully developed to fill a vacuum in the training of journalists and Communicators at the post graduate level, explaining that access to post graduate training in Communication especially at the Masters’ and PhD levels was limited in most of Ghana’s local universities.
Most students and practitioners desirous of pursing post graduate studies had to travel to Europe or the United States of America to pursue such courses at great cost.
He stated that the Programme would therefore provide among other services access to post graduate training in communication and its related fields.
The school would liaise with stakeholders in the media and the communication industry to identify problem areas affecting the industry and encourage students to research in those areas.
It would also source for funding and scholarship to support and promote graduate training and research.
He said as Management would ensure that the Institute remained focused on providing quality training to ensure that graduates remained competitive on the global market.
Professor Clifford Nii Boye Tagoe, Chairman of the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), commended the Management of GIJ for the breakthrough and the successes chalked over the past five decades of its existence.
He stated that the focus on media ethics in all the programmes to be run under the masters’ programme as well as research was in perfect order as these were critical ingredients of quality media relations and enhanced credibility of the media globally.
He indicated that media practice had undergone tremendous changes in the phase of emerging global trend of technologies and these required high media ethics to ensure credibility and accountability to the public.
He however, urged the Institution to aim further to provide services in PhD courses in the near future and that the NCTE would support the Institute to provide such services to the public.
Mr Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, a Deputy Minister of Education in Charge of Tertiary Education, said Government was in the process of establishing a National Research Fund, to provide funding for research.
He appealed for maximum support from all institutions to make research the backbone of higher education in Ghana.
He commended GIJ for staying focused with its niche over the years and pledged the Ministry’s support to the Institute to ensure quality turnout of communication experts to manage the nation’s media industry.