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The Distinguished Scholars of Africa (DistinSA) and the International Standards Journalism Association (ISJA) are jointly advocating Tribal Universities and Free Universities for Journalists in Ghana. They are convinced this will help accelerate the development of the country and to a large extent the African Continent.
At a brief ceremony held at Knutsford University in Accra on December 30, 2017 to officially launch the Universal Broadcast University (UBU) – a free University that is expected to start online by March 2018, Distinguished Fellow Professor Emiretus Kwabena Nketiah lauded the initiative and praised the originators “their deep thoughts”.
He supported the view that money should not be an obstacle to one’s desire to acquire higher knowledge. He also emphasized the need for Africa to have a very knowledgeable media community because a vast majority of the people depend on the media for information intended to shape their decisions and opinions.
For this reason Professors Emiretus Nketiah encouraged African leaders to commit resources to the media and ensure that a good percentage of such resources are go into education and capacity building. He encouraged members of DistinSA to endeavor to put their words into action “Let us make sure that this thing comes into fruition, let it not be one of those things that we gather to discuss and then throw away,” he said.
“Journalism is a craft, it’s a performance practice, just like a lawyer, or a doctor, it is a profession that not just everyone can just walk into so you must be highly trained so that when you start practicing it you can make an impact. That is why we need the education and if we are to get the education money should not be a barrier,” stated Professor Agyemfra a member of DistinSA and a Special Assistant to Prof Emiretus Nketiah.
President of DistinSA, Distinguished Fellow Dr Nana Oppong, who is also the Founding President of the ISJA, outlined the importance of Tribal Universities and Free Universities for Journalists in Ghana.
“The tribe of a person is the community that raises the person from birth and gives him his identity, his tempo, his life-compass and emotional and intellectual orientation. When the tribe is learned the child is learned. When the tribe is “so so”, the child is also “so so”. The media include all those journalists who produce reports, documentaries narratives, films, videos, radios, podcasts, etc., regularly for public consumption. Both the tribe, the clique or the community to which a community belongs; and the favourite journalist(s) into whose media the person is plugged in continuously; direct, shape and determine the quality and strength of the mind and of the intelligence of the person,” he stated.
“…In their being accepted as authorities on what they report as truths, facts, knowledge, science, norms, etc., and in their being perceived as being objective and learned and therefore, accurate and fair, tribes and journalists are for all practical purposes, similar to one another in their control over the minds and hearts of persons. Tribes and the journalists shape the minds and hearts of the people in classic ways of repeated immersion into their universes,” Dr. Oppong noted.
He said “…when tribes and the journalists are truthful, their “subjects” become truthful more or less. When the tribes and the journalists are learned, their “subjects” people become learned more or less. When the tribes and journalists are law-abiding, their “subjects” become law-abiding more or less. These two entities exert direct and indirect influence on the thinking and feeling of those continuously subject to their narratives and worldviews. To those subject to a particular tribe or to a particular media, the wisdom or foolishness of the tribe or the media as the case may be, is the main lens through which they perceive the world.”
According to him there is a need to educate the tribes and journalists through at the highest levels through universities or university-type educations so as to increase the quality and depth of their impacts on their “subjects”, and to do this “they must be given free and unlimited, access to the very best that the nation has to offer.
To begin with Dr Oppong proposed the establishment of the Universal Broadcast University (UBU) as a modest beginning. It will be made up of live and recorded lectures on the internet, on radio and on television including podcasts, videos, documentaries among others, accessible on schedule.
“A University that is not found in expensive, alienating and distant concrete walls but accessible to all wherever they may be, is the best answer to illiteracy, poverty and to the need for creative competitiveness in a hard world,” he stated.
Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingson || ghananewsonline.com.gh