Regional News of 2014-02-14

Minister lauds GNECC for ICT monitoring role in schools

A Deputy Minister for Education, Hon. Alex Kyeremeh, has lauded the Greater Accra Branch of the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) for its efforts in helping with the monitoring of educational services in schools and providing feedback to Government.

Hon. Kyeremeh said as government officials, they have been employed by the people and therefore attach great importance to concerns raised by citizens especially “when they relate to constructive engagement to improve public services”.

The Deputy Minister made these observations when Executives of the Greater Accra Branch of GNECC called on him at his office on Wednesday to present a report of a research the Branch had conducted in some schools in Greater Accra on the implementation of the Ministry's ICT initiative also known as Ghana ICT for Accelerated Development (ICT4AD).

The report titled “Status of ICT in Public Junior High Schools in Greater Accra” highlighted a number of issues that were expected to be addressed by the Ministry for the success of the policy. Among the issues raised in the report by the GA-GNECC was the fact that very few schools in the Greater Accra Region benefitted from the distribution of the rlg laptops while the average number of 24 laptops distributed to the few beneficiary schools were woefully inadequate, given the large class sizes that characterised public junior high schools.

Another issue expected to be tackled by the Ministry of Education is the lack of dedicated computer laboratories in the basic schools. Lessons, according to the report, took place in classrooms, thus limiting its (lessons) scope and making it old fashioned as 'teachers could not experiment with new presentation methods like Power Point or use graphics to illustrate a point'. It therefore recommended in the report that a special fund be created by the government to tackle the issue.

Hon. Alex Kyeremeh thanked the group for their work and noted that some of the issues raised were already being addressed by the Ministry as it (Ministry of Education) was working on making more computers available to schools.

He also revealed that the issue concerning use of Ubuntu software as the open source software in the beneficiary schools, as highlighted in the report, had been addressed leaving some few outstanding schools yet to be attended to.

The Director of ICT at the Ministry, Mr. Francis Avugbey, however expressed the concern that though the Ubuntu Software had been replaced, the sustainability of the new Microsoft software cannot be guaranteed because of associated huge licensing cost and that there was the likelihood of switching back to a different open source software.

The ICT4AD Policy was formally adopted in 2006 after it was first proposed in 2003. The specific objectives of the Policy was to among other things promote an improved educational system within which ICTs are widely deployed to facilitate the delivery of educational services at all levels of the educational system; create an economy characterised by a modern educational system within which ICTs are widely deployed; create an economy based on a literate society with a high proportion of computer literates; and promote basic training in ICT in all schools.

A year later, ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor launched the 'one laptop per child' policy (OLPC) with the intention of equipping each public school-aged child with a laptop to enable him or her become conversant with ICT.

The succeeding National Democratic Congress(NDC) administration in their bid to exhibit commitment to the Policy, restructured it to form the ICT in Education Policy with the aim of having ICT integrated at all levels of the education system namely the management, teaching, learning and administration. It set 2015 as the deadline for achieving the said goals contained in the Policy.

In 2011, the Ministry of Education formed an alliance with rlg Communications, a local company that assembled laptops, to purchase their laptops. In September 2011, 4500 laptops were distributed to schools in the Greater Accra and Volta Regions with each beneficiary school receiving an average of 24 laptops. The government further went ahead to make ICT a compulsory subject in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in May 2012.

Source: Public Agenda
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