The Africa Institute of Journalism and Communications (AIJC) would as from October this year phase out its Diploma programmes for Degree ones to help raise professional communication standards in Africa, to match current international trends.
Speaking at the third graduation of AIJC, the President of the Institute, Mr. Kojo Yankah said it would also be renamed African University of Communication (AUC), with a College of Communication as its bedrock.
He explained that even though it would not admit students for the diploma programme, it would continue to run short remedial courses.
In all 130 out of the 142 students admitted for the 2004 to 2006 course qualified and were awarded Diploma in Communication certificates by the Ghana Institute of Journalism
Mr. Yankah expressed satisfaction with the high quality of graduates of the Institute and noted that the world was facing numerous challenges in areas including politics, local business and industries, governance and even at the household level due to lack of communication planning.
He said: "Most of our political problems arise from the way we communicate. We lack communication planning. Our businesses do not have enough communication focus. Because communication is poor in a number of industries our development projects lack communication plans and strategies, and our governance systems from the lowest political unit to the highest are not structured to allow for popular participation."
Mr Yankah observed that while numerous laws were passed, policy makers made no plans to communicate them to the people.
He stated that the Institute was still going through the process of accreditation with the National Accreditation Board and affiliation with the University of Ghana.
Mrs Oboshie Sai Coffie, Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation, said the media was fast becoming a key component in the developmental efforts and added that, "Your role in this direction would go a long way in ensuring the nurturing and growth of our young democracy."
She encouraged graduating students to use the knowledge they had acquired to strengthen their resolve to dialogue with public office holders to get accurate stories published.
Mrs Sai Coffie advised them against "unwholesome" media manipulation that might bring them quick pay-off, but which may be detrimental to the nation's image".
She said: "You must assume the role of watch dogs as well as ensure that transparency and accountability are your watch words in your chosen field."
Mrs Sai Coffie said the Ministry would soon launch a nationwide campaign to sensitise the people on the President's vision of national orientation.
She said the campaign would emphasise professionalism, accountability, integrity, the promotion of civic duties, a positive and "can-do" attitude and love for the country, which required the support of the media to make the programme a success.
The Deputy Minister said the government was committed and would support endeavours to promote information dissemination at all levels and looked forward to working with the Institution to achieve its aspirations.
Nana S K B Asante, Omanhene of the Asokore Traditional Area, urged journalists to uphold the traditional and cultural image of the people, instead of introducing and promoting foreign ones.
He said even though many debates had gone on for the review and abolition of some cultural practices considered injurious to the health and well being of the people such as exorbitant funeral rite had not been considered.
Most traditional councils are beginning to frown on such developments, which constituted a drain on both financial and human resource development and are taking steps to abolish them, he stated.
The Omanhene urged journalists to acquaint themselves with traditional and cultural issues such as chieftaincy and land dispute settlements, to be able to report accurately.