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Education ministry to distribute 450,000 free tablets this week – Dr Yaw Adutwum

Yaw Osei Adutwum   Yaw Osei Adutwum Yaw Osei Adutwum Yaw Osei Adutwum  Minister For Education FotoJe Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum

Tue, 2 Apr 2024 Source:

The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, has announced the commencement of the distribution of 450,000 free student tablets this week under the auspices of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND).

The tablets, fully funded by GETFUND, represent a critical component of the government's Smart Schools Project, aimed at modernising educational infrastructure nationwide.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's directive on March 25 outlines the distribution of 1.3 million tablets to public Senior High School and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) students across the country.

The initiative underscores the government's commitment to digitising all sectors of the country, fostering a technologically-driven learning environment.

In an interview with Joynews, Dr. Adutwum elaborated on the distribution strategy, delineating it into three phases to ensure efficient allocation across educational institutions.

He stated that the initial phase targets 32 schools nationwide, with subsequent phases to follow.

"The interesting thing about Free SHS is that you can have logistical challenges and that's not a budget issue, so we have 1.4 million children miles away that we are feeding a day. You can have challenges where food may not have reached a certain location on time.

"The idea is very simple; there are some people who will say use that in providing food for them, but no, there is a budget. There is a difference between a budget allocation and a cash flow allocation, so even if I want to, the law does not allow me to tell GETFUND that I need your money to buy food instead of the tablets you have allocated funds for in your funding formula, so there is a difference between a cash flow logistical issue and a budget issue," he said

Each tablet, equipped with a keyboard and power bank, offers multifunctionality as a laptop and tablet. Moreover, innovative features such as a solar panel ensure uninterrupted usage, addressing concerns regarding erratic power supply.

Regarding the integration of textbooks into the tablet, Dr. Adutwum emphasised a gradual transition, with ICT coordinators providing comprehensive training to educators. This initiative aligns with the broader vision of streamlining educational resources onto digital platforms.

In clarifying the cost per tablet, Dr. Adutwum said that each device is valued at $250, not GHS250.

The projected expenditure for the initial 450,000 tablets amounts to GH¢112 million, with the total 1.3 million tablets estimated at GH¢337 million.

Responding to queries regarding the allocation of resources amid challenges facing the Free SHS policy, Dr Adutwum delineated between logistical constraints and budgetary allocations.

He emphasised that funds earmarked for the tablet project are under the government's digitalisation agenda, ensuring a distinct budgetary framework.

"I will give you an example of what I did in one of my schools in the US. One interesting thing that happened when I deployed laptops at the time: we were dreading that the students would lose their laptops. We had insurance on it. It turned out in the end that after three years, when we evaluated the deployment of laptops in my school in the US, 100 per cent of the students' laptops were intact. It was rather the teachers who lost their laptops.

"So, you see, sometimes we underestimate the care that students give to the things that matter to them. When they know how much this matters to them, they are not going to just destroy it. When they know that their homework is not going to be done if I do not take good care of this and you train them well and somebody is there to fix it for them, then there is insurance on it.

"Things work in some very unique ways to amaze you," he added.


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