Following the government’s decision to provide (e-textbooks) tablets loaded with textbooks to Senior High Schools students, Africa Education Watch has estimated that more than GHC1.3 billion could be spent on tablet textbooks.
Executive Director of EduWatch, Kofi Asare in a Facebook analysis sighted by AcademicWeek said with over 1.3 million students in various public second-cycle schools the government is expected to spend even more than the estimated cost.
“There are over 1.3 million students in SHS. The average 128 GB tablet costs about GHC 1,000 at wholesale. Gov’t could spend up to GHC 1.3 billion on the SHS Textbook Tablets-less maintenance,” the education think tank Director said.
Describing the tablets (e-textbooks) as useful learning resources that expose learners to ICT culture, Kofi Asare said they cannot replace printed textbooks used at the secondary level. He says they rather complement printed textbooks.
“International best practice suggests that even advanced countries still use printed textbooks alongside tablets because of their (printed textbooks) reliability-they never switch off. There were useful evidence submitted from the US, UK and South Africa to this effect,” he noted.
The EduWatch official has therefore called on the Ministry of Education under the auspices of the government to reconsider its decision to spend heavily under the assumption that tablets/ laptops (e-books) can replace printed textbooks.
“We will still buy printed textbooks, making the multi-billion venture low on spending efficiency since we already have adequate paper textbooks in Senior High Schools,” the Executive Director of Africa Education Watch said.
Asare has urged the government to improve wifi installed in schools and invest in ICT labs in all public Senior High Schools and encourage parents to buy specific tablets or laptops for configuration by school authorities.
“Spending efficiency must always be our guiding principle in an education system beset with huge resource deficits, leading to inequities in inputs and outcomes,” the education policy analyst said in a social media post.