Prof Linus Abraham inducted as NAFTI Rector

The National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI), has held its first ever official induction of a Rector for the Institute.

The induction ceremony which came off on Friday in Accra, was attended by a number of dignitaries, including Mr Fritz Baffour-Minister of Information, Monsieur Frederick Clavier, French Ambassador, Madame Susan Ulrich, Deputy Australian High Commissioner and Mr Thomas Wimmer, Deputy Head of Mission and Acting German Ambassador.

It was also graced by performances by the Abibigroma group and the NAFTI choir.

In his acceptance speech, the newly inducted Rector, Prof Linus Abraham, who had been the Substantive Rector of the Institute for over two years, said NAFTI which once stood tall amongst learning institutions in the country, had gotten to a very low ebb “in its historical evolution”.

He said NAFTI which had once been considered as a center of excellence in film and television training in Africa, attracting many foreign students as a result, “was a shadow of itself, at the time I took over”.

Prof Abraham said the Institute’s problems began in the 1980s, when the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation, which had been the main sponsoring organization for the school, withdrew from media training to concentrate on government issues.

“The Government of Ghana has not been able to make up for the shortfall in funding and the Institute has since struggled to survive.”

He said the situation was compounded by the continuous governmental cuts in annual subventions and the Institution’s inability to draw funds regularly form the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), “because NAFTI  is not under the Ministry of Education.”

The newly inducted Rector said this resulted in a dire situation for the institution saying “equipment for training were outmoded and limited, departments lacked the necessary facilities, and a strong sense pessimism prevailed at the school.”

Prof Abraham said the process to transform NAFTI which had been on-going for the past two years was in two phases.

He said the first was the redefinition of the governance structure of the school and promulgation of a new statute of incorporation.

Prof Abraham said this also included the rehabilitation of NAFTI’s current civil structures at its current location, re-equipping the institute to bring it into the digital age among others.

“The second part which is envisaged to occur in about seven to ten years time, is to move the NAFTI MEDIA ARTS UNIVERSITY to a new site on the Dawhenya road, where the expanded university would be built, with a commercial wing to provide a cluster economy to facilitate commercial creative arts production in the country,” he said.

The new Rector gave the assurance that the leadership of the institute was resolved to ensure the progress of the school.

“While we are frank about difficulties we have encountered, I can assure you that we are now resolved to find solutions, and we have re-dedicated ourselves one again, to becoming a regional center of excellence for professional and intellectual training in Media Arts,” he said.

Mr Fritz Baffour, Minister of Information, said in his remarks, that the government was soliciting a credit facility of 35 million Euros for the envisaged transformation of NAFTI into a first class Media Arts University.

He said the ceremony signified the transformation of NAFTI into a fully fledged academic institution adding that it was a process which had been taking place for some time.

“I congratulate Prof  Linus Abraham and assure him that the government and my ministry  would support and help in the realization of the vision, to transform NAFTI into a Media Arts University, and a center of excellence to train skilled personnel to support the development of the creative industry in Ghana.

Prof Linus Abraham hails from Cape Coast in the Central Region and had his secondary education at St. Augustines College in Cape Coast, and graduated from NAFTI with a diploma in 1984.

He taught at NAFTI for three years before proceeding to the US to pursue higher education and he is a Professor in Visual Communication, Broadcast Journalism, Cultural Studies and News Media Studies.

He is the sixth Rector of the institute.

Source: GNA

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