A basic school computerisation Project to distribute more than 60,000 computers to public basic schools throughout the country to enhance and facilitate teaching and learning was launched in Accra Monday.
The public-private initiative being carried out by the Ministry of Education (MoE), with support from rlg Communications, a local computer assembling company, will benefit 13,000 primary and 8,000 junior high schools.
The project forms part of the e-school policy and programme of the MoE to enhance computer literacy and learning in basic schools.
Most public basic schools, especially those in the rural areas, do not have computers, even though Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is one of the subjects being taught at the basic education level.
Performing the launching ceremony, the Minister of Education, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, said the project was just the beginning, as “there are plans to extend it to reach all Ghanaian children in both basic and senior high schools and technical institutes”.
“In this knowledge-based world with a knowledge economy today, we cannot afford to deny our children the opportunity to access the Internet. Gone are the days when knowledge was limited to the privileged few,” she said.
Mrs Mould-Iddrisu said among the many things that the project sought to achieve was the country’s obligation to create the platform to enhance the skills of schoolchildren with respect to ICT, adding that the government, through the MoE, was committed to providing ICT tools and equipment to facilitate learning in basic schools.
In doing so, she said, it was the determination of the government to ensure that by the end of 2012, a good number of basic schools across the country would have access to ICT.
Mrs Mould-Iddrisu noted that under the better Ghana agenda of the government, the MoE had initiated and implemented successfully a number of laudable projects, notable among them being the schools under trees project and the provision of free uniforms and free exercise books.
To avoid the temptation on the part of beneficiaries to keep their computers on the shelves, she said the ministry, together with rlg Communications, had started training teachers, adding, “We have partnered with rlg to provide quality after-sales services for the users of the products.”
She said the ministry would continue to expand its projects as and when it received more funding in order to fulfil the better Ghana agenda and expressed the hope that by 2013 Ghana would be competing with other developed countries.
The Chief Executive Officer of rlg Communications, Mr Roland Agambire, said it was a great honour and pride for his company to be given the opportunity to set the pace in technology innovation in ICT through partnership with the MoE.
“As part of our values, rlg enjoys the challenge of entrepreneurship and creativity. In that regard, it is our firm commitment to deliver beyond expectations in this collaboration. The MoE, and for that matter the government of Ghana, has placed faith and confidence in an indigenous company such as rlg and we will not disappoint you,” he said.
He said rlg, which had the target of employing 30,000 youth at its assembly plant, had plans to donate free laptops to all offices within the Osu Castle and offer discounted rates on its computers to all ministers, saying that rlg was ready to offer credit and hire purchase schemes to all teachers, nurses, doctors and employees of recognised institutions.
The acting Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Ms Benedicta Naana Biney, said the launch of the project was the beginning of greater things to happen in the educational sector.
The Chairman of the GES Council, Prof Agyewodin Adu-Gyamfi Ampem, who chaired the event, said all developed countries were using ICT in every facet of their economies and Ghana could not afford to be left out.