Govt SHS free tablets promise is too good to be true – EduWatch
After the government failed to fulfil an assurance to supply laptops to public school teachers in a year, Africa Education Watch says it doubts the government’s promise to supply Senior High School students free tablets this academic year.
In a social media post sighted by AcademicWeek, Executive Director of EduWatch, Kofi Asare said as of this academic year many teachers have not had their laptops, nevertheless, 1.3 million students have been promised free tablets.
“Per MoU signed in Nov 2020, 280k laptops were to be supplied to teachers in one year. By Jan 2023, two years after signing MoU, many teachers do not have their laptops; Yet, we are promising 1.3 million tablets for SHS students” he said in his post.
In a different post, the Education think thank Director again suggested for the central government to rather use the money to supply free electronic tablets to second-cycle schools to provide textbooks for basic school students.
“In 2023, the government increased the Free Senior High School (Free SHS) budget by about 30%, but this did not cover tablets, which may cost another billion,” Africa Education Watch said in a post sighted by AcademicWeek.com.
Citing the lack of textbooks in primary schools, EduWatch Director said less than 30% of the basic schools’ textbooks were supplied last year due to financial issues as the students enter year four of the newly introduced curriculum.
“In such a period of austerity, why won’t government first find money to provide all needed textbooks and Capitation Grant for basic schools and purchase the tablets when the economic situation improves?” Kofi Asare quizzed.
The education policy analyst continued that “the issue is never whether or not the promise of a tablet for 1.3 million Senior High School students is possible, but its implications on equitable financing of pre-tertiary education in an austerity
His comment comes after Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia at the 74th Annual New Year and School Conference said he had been informed the government is on course to provide the tablets to all Free Senior High School students.
“We are on course to provide all Senior High School students in Ghana with tablets preloaded which are loaded with textbooks on them for their studies. That is a game-changing development,” the Vice-President said at the conference.
According to Bawumia, aside from the electronic tablets loaded with textbooks, the device will also contain WASSCE for School past questions to help students prepare adequately for the international examination this academic year.