One of the growing arguments between academia and the media arts industry is that most of the time academics do not reflect real-life events.
Sometimes, the industry complains about the industry and academia mismatch where students have been taught things that are not relevant in the world of work.
To solve this at the tertiary level, sometimes, the industry and academia join forces to research issues that are common to them.
Academia, on our part of the world, is also trying to be more practical though there is still a lot of room for improvement.
One thing that has been happening is students are often asked to reflect on what is happening in the world or entertainment and social media in their academic work.
The latest of such developments is the #FixTheCountry campaign.
First-year students in the Department of Sociology of the University of Ghana were asked a question about #FixTheCountry in their end of semester exam. It was the compulsory question carrying 30 marks.
The students were asked to advance four arguments they would advocate for that would “make a substantial difference in fixing the country.”
However, this is not the first time something like this has happened.
Some of the music released by some of the award-winning Ghanaian musicians have also sometimes found their way into academia.
Kofi Kinaata is used to this asin 2017, his then hit song “Confessions” became an academic reference material. The lyrics to that song appeared in a Level 200 Literature in English course material at the Kwame Nkrumah Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
Two years later in 2019, another Kofi Kinaata hit song also found its way into academia.
A University of Ghana lecturer, used Kofi Kinaata’s “Things Fall Apart”, during her lecture in the Study of Religion Class.
In 2018, then Level 200 students of the Ghana Institute Of Journalism (GIJ) encountered a question about Self-acclaimed Rap King Sarkodie and budding act, Fancy Gadam.
The chorus of Fancy Gadam’s hit song “Total Cheat” was used as a preamble for a question in their end of semester exam.
Another Ghanaian celebrity who has been featured in academia is Shatta Wale. He has had two “cameos” for a want of a better, in tertiary level academic work all in December 2018.
A comment Shatta Wale made about Ghana appeared in an exam question at the University of Development Studies, UDS.
The first question in the Level 200 Fundamentals of Human Geography course was based on Shatta Wale’s infamous comment that “Ghana is a village”.
“Charles Nii Armah Mensah Jnr., a Ghanaian producer and reggae-dancehall musician popularly known as Shatta Wale, recently described Ghana as a village during a performance in London. With reference to your knowledge about development problems of villages, state five relevant reasons why Shatta Wale described the whole of Ghana as a village,” the question read.
Later in that same month, Central University also name-dropped him in an exam. Level 300 Bachelor of Laws students at Central University had Shatta Wale featuring in their end of the semester exam.
The students were asked to answer an essay question on copyright law that is also a current subject of discussion among many entertainment industry leaders. Shatta Wale was used as a reference point though the scenario had nothing to do with him in real life.
Though academia needs to do more to bridge the gap between industry and academia, this is, at least is the basics.
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