Editorials and Update, September 5, Teachers’ Laptop: Two Teacher Unions have petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate the Government’s One Teacher, One Laptop policy initiative that has been launched over the week.
”The request for investigation has become necessary due to the fact that the procurement of two hundred and eighty thousand (280,000) laptops ought to result in a significant reduction in the price for teachers and the taxpayer to pay.”
”The cost of each laptop is purported to be 1,550 cedis and we suspect that this amount is inflated. A thorough investigation into procurement will vindicate our position.”
The highest price for this TM1 laptop in our estimation must not be more than 600 Ghana cedis given the specifications of this laptop and the colossal number of 280,000 laptops.”
”It is trite knowledge that manufacturing of electronic gadgets in large quantities makes the price per item very low.” They argued.
The Unions raised pertinent issues concerning the purchase of the Laptop.
1. No survey was done to determine the number of teachers who have laptops and teachers who might not be interested in acquiring laptops from the government through cost-sharing.
2. Teachers who are interested in paying 30 per cent of the cost of the laptop ought to have signed a consent form that would have formed the premise to produce a number of laptops in order to prevent waste of public funds.
3. Procuring 280,000 laptops for all teachers when GES cannot force all teachers to pay 30 per cent of the cost of the laptops is a grotesque waste of public funds and a betrayal of protecting the public purse mantra by the President.
4. GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT acceptance of this deal is irrelevant because the individual teacher has the choice to make whether to pay the 30 per cent cost of the laptop or not.
Deductions of employees’ salaries by the employer are regulated by section 70 (1 a, b, c, d, f and 2a. b, c, d) of the Labour Act (Act 651). Any attempt to force all teachers to pay the 30 per cent will be fiercely resisted through the court.
5. The TM1 laptops are of doubtful quality just like the RLG laptops. There are no parts on the market to replace them when any part needs to be replaced and as a result, it will not last long to deliver the purpose for which they were procured.
6. One cannot fathom but wonder why the state cannot procure laptops from known brands such as hp. Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba, Samsung, Sony, Acer are generally of good quality and their parts can easily be replaced when they get spoilt.
7. The RLG laptops distributed to some teachers and some schools in Ghana that broke down in less than two years and could not be repaired is fueling a sense of uneasiness among teachers in buying these laptops from the government since TM1 is an unknown brand.
8. It is highly patronising and grossly disrespectful for government to give laptops of low quality to teachers as if teachers are so poor that we cannot afford quality laptops as our personal assets.
9. Many teachers have sophisticated laptops and smartphones with better specifications than the laptops GES wants to distribute to teachers.
10. INNOVATIVE TEACHERS is calling on the government to order the company contracted to produce of 280,000 TM1 laptops to stop production immediately.
11. In order to show respect to teachers and the labour law government must acquire laptops such as hp, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and Dell for teachers. The laptops must be given to teachers free of charge. What is good for Article 71 officeholders is equally good for teachers under section 9(a) of the Labour Act.
12. What teachers need now is the payment of the legacy arrears from 2012 to 2016 and not unsolicited distribution of laptops of doubtful quality.
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