By Rohey Jadama
The Gambia Press Union School of Journalism on Friday 16th January, 2015 graduated 12 grandaunts in Professional Reporters’ Advanced Diploma at a ceremony held at Paradise Suites Hotel, the first of its kind.
The grandaunts showcased Radio interviews on Health, Nutrition and Human Rights. They also did a poetry rendition. The grandaunts also launched their own newspaper called the Star which was launched by the Honourable Minister of Information, Communication and Infrastructure, Mr. Sheriff Bojang.
Mr. Talibeh Hydara, the class captain won the following awards: Best over-all Student, Analysis, English Language, Media Ethics and Law, Media History and Leadership; whilst Ms. Mary M. Gomez won the Gender Empowerment award.
The following people also received awards for institutional support for the services they rendered to the GPU: Mr. Sang Mendy, Mr. Lamin Yarboe, Mr. Modou S. Joof, Ms. Chilel Colley, Ms. Isatou Njie, and Mr. Famara Jatta.
The ceremony was attended by the Honourable Minister of Information, Communication and Infrastructure, Mr. Sheriff Bojang, Board Members of GPU School of Journalism, Executive members of GPU, Media Chiefs, parents of the grandaunts and Journalists.
The ceremony was chaired by Mr George Christensen, a media consultant, who emphasized that given the enormous difficulties confronting the media the successful completion of the two year course is no mean achievement.
The ceremony commenced with a procession of the graduants followed by a procession of the teaching staff and the school board members, led by the executive director, Mr Gibairu Janneh.
In presenting the school report, Mr Gibairu Janneh explained the metamorphosis the school has gone through to become what it is today. He indicated that the technological facilities available at the school are up to date and adequate. He revealed that the two year course was funded by Danida (a Danish funding agency) through the Gambia Media Support (Games).
The executive director opined that the achievements were laudable because both staff and students were up to the task. He boasted that through a rigorous selection process, they got the best 20 out of more than 100 applicants for the course. He indicated that this and a competent and dedicated teaching staff and facilities produced the result that they have today.
The guest speaker was Mr Fanding Taal, chairperson of the board of the GPU School of Journalism. He cautioned the graduants that their graduation is just the first step in their development and contribution to the development of society, and that they should be ready to face the challenges of life.
In launching the Star, a paper produced by the students, the minister, who is part of the teaching staff, made it clear that it was entirely the effort of the students. He congratulated the grauduants and indicated that he had learnt more from them than they have learnt from him.
In delivering the vote of thanks, Mr Talibeh Hydara thanked the teaching staff for their work and the students for their support. He told the audience that the prizes were won on behalf of the students. He became emotional at one stage while he was narrating his trials and tribulations and how he overcame them with determination.