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UE: GJA chairman proposes streamlining of media training institutions in Ghana

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Upper East Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), William Nlanjerbor Jalulah has proposed the streamlining of media training institutions in Ghana.

Recently, there has been the springing up of unaccredited journalism training schools in the country; leading to the churning out of a plethora of journalists in the country. As a result, there many job seekers in the media space who hold certificates from those institutions and yet, cannot find jobs because not all media houses will have confidence in them.

In this light, Mr. Jalulah believes if journalism training institutions are streamlined and accredited, it would afford would-be journalists the opportunity to acquire the needed journalism education to enable them to fit into the job market.

“We need to streamline most of the institutions so that for instance if you are accredited to do a Diploma Programmes, you can, as well, do certificate programmes. Payment system is poor and even in some cases, you will have some who are not paid at all. Now we must look at it very well; it’s not in every case that the media owners will be blamed for journalists not being paid. Look at the proliferation of media training schools; they are now everywhere,” he said in an interview on Bolgatanga-based URA Radio monitored by a1radioonline.com.

“Those days when if you wanted to become a journalist, it was GIJ; that’s all. Now almost all the traditional universities are doing journalism training. Now, private schools are everywhere. Now the unemployment rate is high. When people go into media training schools and come out, some of them either go to do their national service or attachment. When they finish, maybe by the time you went to do the attachment, maybe they (media house) had employed the calibre of people they needed but for attachment, they could not have denied you.”

“They allowed you to do the attachment and after the attachment, you feel like if I go what will I do? So let me stay and gain some experience. Sometimes all these people are added to the number of people who always say journalists are working and not paid by their employers. I’m saying it with experience, it’s not easy.”

Mr. Jalulah also stated that some of the interns who voluntarily ask media owners to allow them to stay and gain more experience are added to the permanent staff; exerting pressure on the latter’s finances because of the huge number.

In a further interview with A1radioonline.com, the GJA Chairman explained that he did not mean to undermine any media training institution but to encourage intensive training.

He said, “I didn’t mean to undermine any media training institution. Everything is fast changing in this country and one of such things is the springing up of educational institutions including journalism training schools. It’s good we have them closer to us for easy access and cost-effectiveness.”

“However, we must not throw quality training to the wind. We must streamline the system and ensure these institutions are categorized and the scope of training and their capacities are made public to admission seekers. There are some of them [journalism training schools] that are not accredited. Mind you, accreditation is not the same as registration.
A school may be registered at the Registrar General’s Department but not accredited by the National Accreditation Board. Such schools may be streamlined to run certificate programmes for short duration – say three to six months or maximum one year.”

“Owners of such institutions should not deceive prospective applicants that they are doing diploma and degree programmes when indeed, they know very well that they are not accredited. So such short programmes are meant for individuals who probably are into other professions and may want to have basic journalistic skills to take advantage and acquire some skills. Or, those who have passion for journalism but will not want to take a full programme in it can enrol for such short programmes so as to acquire the rudiments of the profession to be able to practice in limited areas of the media space.”

According to him, he has trained a couple of journalists in Bolgatanga some of whom are doing very well in their practice.

Mr Jalulah said, “I will be the last person to suggest that we should not encourage people to take up short programmes in journalism. I have, since 2014, trained and certificated a number of individuals as journalists who are doing very well in this [Upper East] region.”

“However, I didn’t tell them I was going to award them diploma or degree certificates. No, I didn’t because I knew I didn’t have the capacity to do so. I simply told them I was training them and to award them certificates; which I did. That is the kind of truthfulness I’m demanding of owners of schools running short programmes in media training.”

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1 MHz|Elijah Beyeni Yenibey|Bolgatanga

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