The International Institute of Journalism (IIJ), the first-ever Journalism College in the whole of the three Northern Regions, has held its maiden Matriculation Ceremony to officially introduce and usher in its pioneer student population of 27.
The institute, which is insisting on quality but not quantity of students, offered admission to the 27 students out of 189 applicants.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the IIJ, Alhaji Gilbert Seidi Iddi, also a former Northern Regional Minister said, the institution was projecting to become one of the largest and excellent journalism institutions in Ghana and Africa, to produce well-trained journalists to fill the local media organisations.
According to him, the school was also intended to change the seemingly unprofessional journalism practices in the North and Ghana, which had obviously impacted negatively on the peace and development of the nation.
Alhaji Iddi, currently the Head of the Faculty of Agric and Economics at the University for Development Studies (UDS), explained that the north had received its fair share of bad publications by media organisations, and some journalists in the southern part of Ghana and beyond the shores of the country, simply because they did not understand or appreciate the culture of the north.
He, therefore, observed that if a journalism institution like the IIJ trained professionals in an environment that has been labeled as violent, trainees would definitely have wider ideas of the area, and would tell the true story of the north to the southerners, and the rest of the world without any twists.
He, however, challenged journalists and media organisations in the country, which have allowed “yellow journalism” to be their hallmark, to try and stick to the professional standards before they spelt the doom of Ghana.
Alhaji Iddi announced that plans are underway for the Board of Directors and the Management of the IIJ, to affiliate the school to some recognised accredited institutions like the African University College of Communication (AUCC) in Ghana, and other foreign institutions, whilst working towards the attainment of accreditation from the National Accreditation Board (NAB).
The Director of the IIJ, Mr. Alhassan Imoro, in his welcome address, commended the matriculants for not indulging in irresponsible behaviour, or becoming a nuisance in society, but had seen the need to seek for knowledge to better their lives.
He encouraged them to ignore the dire impression amongst some so-called senior journalists in Tamale, that only students of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) were professionals.
“Knowledge acquired from even Heaven, would become useless, if not put to proper use. In simple terms: It is not where the knowledge is acquired, but how it is practiced or utilised.”
The IIJ Director therefore charged the students to work towards their dreams of becoming professional journalists, by making judicious use of their time.
Master Abass Abdul-Rahaman, President of the Students Representative Council (SRC) of IIJ, said as pioneers of the school, they would cooperate effectively and efficiently with the administration and academic board, to help improve academic excellence, which would lead to professionalism and discipline in the journalism society.
He outlined some of the challenges facing the school, including lack of a library facility, computer laboratory and permanent school premises, among others.
Mr. Abdul-Rahaman therefore, appealed to non-governmental organisations and philanthropists, to come to the aid of the school.
Ms Joana Mansah Otoo, a students and Vice President of the SRC, IIJ told The Chronicle that the school had come to lessen the burdens of interested journalists, who had to travel from the North to Accra and Kumasi for journalism training.
Most of them, especially the females, she said, sometimes had to be at the mercies of some ruthless men in their search for accommodation.