Hustle, shuttle between lectures: Tale of two GIJ campuses
The hurly-burly of higher education is aggravated for students of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), smarting under a constant shuttle between two campuses.
The back and forth arrangement not only costs more money, but also confuses the tradition of students renting apartments close to campuses they have been assigned to, in order to be punctual for lectures.
But the story has changed because a student cannot tell anymore which campus he or she would end up in.
An increase in student intake and the addition of postgraduate courses has led to the construction of a bigger campus, at Dzorwulu as the main campus, running alongside the old campus at Osu-Ringway, compelling students to scurry across the campuses each semester.
An ideal solution would have been to have courses that go together run at the same campus to lessen the stress.
However, the GIJ administration has insisted that the current scheduling is the best remedy under the circumstances, although students are tormented by commuting costs and the uncertainty of renting hostels.
It may be manageable for students who do not have to travel far from their own homes to either of the campuses, as some have said they avoid the long traffic before lectures.
“Being moved to the old campus makes coming to school a lot easier because it takes only 30 minutes from my home in Teshie to Osu before I walk to Ringway for a class, whereas at the new campus it takes me more than an hour to get to school,” David, a Level-300 Top-up student, said.
Students rented apartments closer to the new campus at Dzorwulu, only to find out on resumption of the semester that they have been moved to the old campus at Ringway.
“GIJ does not have its own hostels at both campuses to ease the stress. But even if it did, an unfortunate student would have to switch hostels continually. I rented accommodation at Shiashie, close to the new campus, expecting to be taught at the new campus until I complete my course. But now, I have been moved to the old campus, which makes it tedious to get to school,” Josephine, a Public Relations student, said
Another major challenge at the new campus is that it has no cafeteria where students can have snacks, interact or relax in between lectures.
Sources in Administration say the new campus opening coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, which probably made the authorities overlook the social demands.
The Student’s Representative Council (SRC) has a shuttle service. However, majority of students, especially those at the new campus, do not benefit from the service, as the shuttle runs mainly between the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and the old campus at Ringway-Osu.
Even when the shuttle plies the new campus route, it benefits only the Regular students, not the Weekend students.
The new campus is deserted and scary for students at unsociable hours when criminals are known to lurk. Weekend students are often terrified as most of their lectures end in the evening, sometimes at 10p.m.
There is always a challenge for students wishing to avoid the congestion at the Shoprite roundabout, as they are compelled to cross the two lanes of the notoriously busy N1 dual carriageway, which has no footbridge for easy access.
Students sometimes need to cross busy roads twice, sometimes walking on the lonely road leading to Villagio, without street lights, before getting over to the Spanner Junction, opposite the Accra Mall to get a bus home.
In spite of the late closing times, students still need to get home early to be ready for school the next morning, with no tangible intervention being made by GIJ to ensure their safety.
Lecturers also have their share of the inconvenience, considering the hectic drive on the N1 motorway.
“ A shorter route from the N1 to the new campus, from the Fiesta Royale Hotel traffic lights, is no longer convenient, because of the many potholes, making it look like the road to Golgotha,” a frustrated Journalism lecturer, said.
The writer is a student of the Ghana Institute of Journalism