Education Ministry Unveils Plan to Distribute 450,000 Free Student Tablets by Next Week

Education Ministry Unveils Plan to Distribute 450,000 Free Student Tablets by Next Week
Education Ministry Unveils Plan to Distribute 450,000 Free Student Tablets by Next Week

Ferdinand EducationGhana | March 31 | Education Ministry Unveils Plan to Distribute 450,000 Free Student Tablets by Next Week

Get insights into Ghana’s ambitious plan to distribute free educational tablets to students, a part of the Smart School Project. Learn about the phased distribution strategy, features of the tablets, and the government’s digitalization agenda.

 

 


Ghana Education Ministry Unveils Plan to Distribute Free Student Tablets

The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, has announced the imminent distribution of 450,000 free student tablets funded by the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND). This initiative, part of the Smart School Project, aims to revolutionize learning in Ghanaian schools.

Phased Distribution Strategy

The distribution of the tablets will occur in three phases to ensure efficient deployment across 32 schools nationwide. Dr Adutwum outlined the phased approach, with the first batch set to reach schools in the coming week. The subsequent phases will follow closely, ensuring a smooth and systematic rollout of the tablets.

Features of the Tablets

Each student tablet is equipped with a keyboard, enabling versatile usage as a laptop or standalone tablet. Additionally, the tablets come with a power bank and a solar panel, providing a sustainable solution for charging, especially in areas with erratic power supply. These features underscore the government’s commitment to addressing technological challenges and enhancing the learning experience for students.

Integration of ICT Training

ICT Coordinators in schools have been tasked with providing comprehensive training to teachers on the effective utilization of the tablets. This training will equip educators with the necessary skills to leverage digital resources and enhance pedagogical practices. Dr Adutwum emphasized the importance of ongoing training to ensure that schools optimize the benefits of the tablet initiative.

Budget Allocation Clarification

Responding to concerns about budget allocation, Dr Adutwum clarified that the funds allocated for the tablet project are distinct from those earmarked for the Free Senior High School (SHS) program. He highlighted the government’s commitment to prioritizing both initiatives and emphasized the need to address logistical challenges separately from budgetary constraints.

On the matter of whether it was prudent for the government to spend huge amounts on free tablet distribution when the Free SHS policy was facing other pressing challenges, the Bosomtwe MP explained that the logistical challenges of the Free SHS programme are separate from budgetary constraints, clarifying that funds allocated for this tablet project under the government’s digitalization agenda cannot be diverted to address feeding challenges faced by students under the policy.

“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.

Cost of Tablets

Dr Adutwum clarified that the unit price for each tablet is $250, and not GHS250. The first 450,000 tablets are to cost 112 million cedis, whereas the entire 1.3 million will amount to 337 million Ghana cedis.

Mitigating Tablet Malfunctions

Addressing potential concerns about tablet malfunctioning or mishandling, Dr Adutwum reassured stakeholders that schools with large populations would have dedicated repair centers onsite. Drawing from his experience in the US, he highlighted the students’ diligence in caring for their devices when they understand the importance of academic success linked to the tablets.

When the host of News File, Sampson Lardi Ayenini asked about the possible malfunctioning, breakdown or mishandling of the tablets by the students, the sector minister revealed that schools with a population exceeding one thousand will have dedicated repair centres on-site to address any issues promptly.

He emphasized that while gadget abuse is common when students understand that their academic success depends on the tablet, they are more diligent in using it, leading to increased carefulness.

“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.

Conclusion

The distribution of free student tablets represents a pivotal moment in Ghana’s educational landscape, signaling a shift towards digital learning and innovation. As the government continues to invest in educational technology, stakeholders are optimistic about the transformative impact of the Smart School Project on student outcomes and national development.

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