Following the central government’s decision to replace Senior High School textbooks with an electronic devices this academic year, a source close to the Ministry of Education (MoE) says students will be given tablets instead of laptops.
In a discussion monitored by AcademicWeek.com, the source said his research indicates prospective students in government Senior High Schools will be provided with free tablets and not laptops as reported by the media.
The clarification comes after the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia earlier said the central government will give students free tablets in 2023 but at an event later said second cycle school students will be provided laptops.
Speaking at the 74th Annual New Year and School Conference at Great Hall and ISSER Conference Centre, Dr Bawumia said he had been informed the government is on course to provide the tablets to all Free Senior High School students.
But in his address at the 60th Anniversary celebration of the Hohoe Evangelical Presbyterian Senior High School, he said textbooks and other teaching and learning materials would be installed on laptops to be given to SHS students.
In a related development, Africa Education Watch (EduWatch) has said the Nana Akufo-led government could spend more than GHC1.3 billion on the procurement of tablets to replace printed textbooks at the secondary level.
The Executive Director of EduWatch, Mr Kofi Asare in a Facebook analysis said with over 1.3 million students in various government second-cycle schools, the central 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.