The Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, has expressed concern over the paucity of research data for development planning in many African countries, including Ghana.
He urged graduates from the Graduate School of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) to endeavour to add value to the nation’s planning through their research.
Addressing the second graduation ceremony of the School of Graduate Studies and Research (SOGSAR) of GIJ in Accra last Saturday, Prof. Yankah said African governments gave the sense of planning based on conjecture instead of reliable data, while journalists had to reach out to sources outside for information about their countries.
“It amounts to going beyond yourself to get information about yourself,” he added.
Graduation & best students
The event was held on the theme: “The role of communication in bridging the gap between academia and industry.”
In all, 112 students graduated with master’s degrees in Development Communication, Media Management, Journalism and Public Relations.
They included Charles Benoni Okine, Rosemond Larley Agyepong and Martha Ayiri, all of Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL).
Ms Gifty Osew Boafo emerged the Best Student in Development Communication, Mr Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona was adjudged the Best Student in Media Management, Mr Robert Kafui Kofi Dey, Best Student in Journalism and Ms Nana Yaa Jantuah emerged the Best Student in Public Relations.
Academia and industry
Prof. Yankah said the disconnect between academia and industry was due to a lack of synergy between both parties.
To address that, he said, there was the need for institutions to talk to each other, understand each other, enter each other’s world and act with one accord.
He said while there was unemployment at various levels, some employers were looking for a good calibre of candidates and those that they could retrain.
Prof. Yankah said graduate training should help address unemployment as it took students to higher levels where they sought to impart the knowledge they had to younger ones.
The Executive Secretary of the National Commission on Tertiary Education (NCTE) and stand-in chair of the GIJ Governing Council, which is yet to be fully constituted, Prof. Mohammed Salifu, said the government was in the process of constituting new governing councils for public tertiary educational institutions.
He commended the GIJ for its strides in finding a niche area in Communications and also for its graduate and research programmes, but urged the academic staff to engage more in research as it was the bedrock of academic excellence.
He said the graduate and research programmes provided a medium through which the university could create new knowledge and innovations to address societal problems and to demonstrate its relevance to the national economy.
National research fund
Prof. Salifu also pledged the NCTE’s support for the university and advised faculty to use their book and research allowances as intended.
“A national research fund is also in the offing to provide the resources for competitive research into key areas of national policy,” he said.
The Rector of the GIJ, Dr Wilberforce Dzisah, commended the second batch of graduates for their patience and tolerance in enduring the ‘pain and agony of waiting all this while to be graduated.’
He said the GIJ’s graduate programmes had gained popularity and influence, with the number of applicants admitted increasing from 135 in 2015 when the programme started, to 243 students expected to start in September 2017.
“The rapid growth is matched by the quality of faculty available…95 per cent of those engaged at the postgraduate level have terminal degrees (PhD),” he said. — GNA