Parliament yesterday adopted the Report of the Committee on Education on the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) Bill after a motion was moved for a debate on the Bill's principles.
The Bill is to establish GIJ as a Tertiary Institution and place the supervision of the Institute under the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports rather than the present Ministry of Information and National Orientation. "The importance of the Ghana Institute of Journalism Bill cannot be over-emphasised as it seeks to confer a full Tertiary status on the Institute. This is very much in line with the policy on human resource development on the country," the report said.
The House unanimously agreed that the change would enable the Institute, established in 1959, to access the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and as a degree awarding institution enhance its role as a centre of excellence in Journalism, Public Relations, Advertising and other communication related courses in Africa.
Members praised the role of the Institute in the training of communication practitioners from Ghana and other African countries.
Mr John Mahama, MP for Bole Bamboi, recalled that Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's First President, established the Institute to train high calibre media personnel for the fight against colonialism and other world events. Ghanaians could take pride in the role of the Institute in the training of journalists across the African Continent in colonial struggle.
He said the shift would enable the Institute to be in line with other Tertiary Institutions, which were under the Education Ministry, explaining that the move would enhance the budget allocation of the GIJ, which was at present very lean under the Ministry of Information and National Orientation.
Mr Mahama pointed out that the GIJ, which was at present affiliated to the University of Ghana, could seek full accreditation and run its own programmes and award its own certificates even to the postgraduate levels.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, MP for Tamale South, noted the contribution of Mr Dan Botwe, immediate past Minister for Information and his Deputy Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, for their role in bringing the bill that far.
Mr Iddrisu said the 1966 military coup affected the development of the GIJ and called for a tremendous investment in respect of the Institute so that it could increase its present student population from about 400 to the thousands within the next four years.
Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo, MP for Akim Oda, said the Bill was long overdue for its noble object of enhancing journalism training. The House concurred to a move by Mr Felix Owusu-Adjapong for the adjournment of the sitting till the next day to enable Members to go and continue with their prayers for the Ghanaian team, the Black Stars.