Friday 15th February , one of the Senior Lectures at the Mass Communication Department, Fourah Bay College, Francis Sowa defended his Ph. D Thesis on Communication and Media Studies and now awaiting conferment after necessary corrections would have been made by the university.
After defending his thesis: Strategic Media Management, he was then pronounced as Dr. Francis Sowa by the relevant authorities.
He described the achievement as one which is not only remarkable for him as a person, but for Sierra Leone as a nation and for journalism fraternity.
There was a time in this country when people thought that those who opted for journalism and media practitioners were dropouts or people who were unable to make gains within the academic circle, he noted.
Speaking to this paper at his office at the Mass Communication Department, he (Francis Sowa) disclosed that there are four other senior lecturers in the department who will soon defend their thesis as he has done.
“I am humble and happy that I am not in this alone. We have four other colleagues who in the next few days if not weeks would also be completing their Ph. D Programs,” he confirmed.
The present Head of Department (HOD), Williette James opted for Media and Gender, former HODs, Isaac Massaquoi and Hindolo Tonya Musa opted for Media and Democracy and Social Media respectively, and Abdulrahman Swaray opted for Traditional Media, he revealed.
According to Sowa, the dream to acquire higher education was borne 14 years ago in his third year in the university when his talent was spotted by Mrs. Bernadette Cole and Mr. Isaac Massaquoi.
“They (Isaac Massaquoi and Bernadette Cole) may have focused on my academic output, but I am sure it was due to my experience working at the then Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) now the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) with key lecturers in the department, who were my bosses at the SLBS that gave me an edge,” he stated.
He added that he was first employed to serve as Research Teaching Assistant (RTA) or Temporary Teaching Assistant (TTA) after completing his first degree.
“Having become a lecturer in the university, I realized that the highest level in education is a Ph. D Degree, then I said to myself if I should stay within the arena or confines of academia, I have to go for the highest and the highest being a PhD,” Sowa stated.
He acknowledged that they should be grateful to Bernadette Cole who started the Masters in Mass Communication Program and developed the program up to a Masters of Philosophy level.
With the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) the curriculum (the Mass Comm curriculum) was reviewed some four to five years ago and that was when the PhD Program was created, he expressed.