Some final-year students of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) are angry over a directive management of the school gave students who paid their fees late.
The Ghana Institute of Journalism, which came across as inconsiderate yesterday, in a letter ordered students who could not pay their school fees on time to defer their programme.
This directive is on the back of the school's pending end of the first-semester examination which is scheduled to take place from March 29, 2021, to April 19, 2021.
The school in a press statement, ordered the affected students to comply and act accordingly.
"Management of the Ghana Institute of Journalism, at its meeting held on Monday, March 22, 2021, decided that students who paid their fees after the registration deadline should defer their programme," the notice reads.
Unhappy with the directive, a member of the Interim Committee of the Students' Representative Council, Theodore Mawutor Abiwu, in an interview with citinewsroom.com, described the order as "callous and insensitive".
"I think this action by the management is a callous one. I think it is inhuman, and I think management has not been fair to students. These students in question have actually paid the fees they were required to, whether it is 60% or 100%. The only crime these students did is to be poor. Their only crime is the fact that they could not meet the deadline [for payment of fees] as proposed by the school. How can you punish a student who wants to change his destiny and that of his family?"
"For crying out loud, we live in the era of COVID-19 and businesses and livelihoods of people have been affected. Students who did not have the means to pay on time were out there seeking for support, working themselves out to pay fees that have been increased. An increase we pleaded with authorities to take away because it is burdensome. So if such a student was even late in paying the fees, the best thing was to block the system so that they will not even pay the fees in the first place so they know their fate beforehand. So why wait for students to make payments and then four days to examination, you send a communiqué that they should defer their programme for a year? Some of these students are in level 400 and have about five months to complete the school, why do you want to alter their future because of late payment of fees?" he fumed.
Ahead of the 2020/2021 academic year, the school's management increased the fees to be paid by students by 5percent.
Per the new fee schedule, regular students pursuing the Institute's Bachelor in Communication Studies programme pay GH¢2,520.00, whilst those pursuing a Diploma in Communication Studies (Regular and Weekend) will have to pay GH¢2,310.00 as academic fees.
For level 300 Top-up fresh students (Weekend), their new academic fee is now GH¢3,100 whereas their colleagues in level 400 will have to pay GH¢2,730.00
The fee for first-year Diploma in Communication Studies (evening) students is now GH¢2,660.00 whilst their colleagues in the weekend class will pay GH¢2,900.00.
This directive by the school's authority was strongly opposed, but their petition failed to yield any positive results.
Adding to his earlier remark, the SRC interim committee member explained that the initial penalty for late payment was scrapped without effective communication to the student body.
"Prior to this semester, the norm was that students were supposed to pay a penalty of GH¢200.00 for late payment. However, this academic year, that was scrapped with students assuming it was because of the rummaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. So prior to that, students were prepared to pay the penalty but since it was scrapped, they did not know and now you tell them to defer their course."
"40 minutes before the statement in question was released, I led a delegation of about 14 students to petition the school to register some students who were denied registration."
Theodore Abiwu added that the decision by the management of the Ghana Institute of Journalism is simply because of the absence of an official Students' Representative Council.
"I think the school took this position because of the absence of the SRC. A body that will speak for them. I, who serves on the interim committee cannot even have a meeting with management. This is the only explainable reason why I should think they took this callous decision to affect our lives. Even with that, it is wrong, the student body is the SRC, the only thing lacking is an executive body to act as a liaison for us."
The management of GIJ is yet to comment on why such a move has been taken.