Child Online Africa (COA) has called for the scrapping of the Communication Service Tax (CST) to aid online studies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to COA, the CST is a disincentive to the ‘online classrooms’ initiative.
“We, therefore, urge the responsible sector ministries to immediately put on hold any further deductions of the CST to ease the cost of Internet Services in Ghana,” COA said in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Awo Aidam Amenyah.
It noted with concern the framework outlined by the Ministry of Education on Tuesday March 25, 2020 in furtherance of the President’s directive to vacate all school children in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We fully concur with government’s decision to leverage the internet and Mass Media (Radio/TV) by rolling out Virtual classrooms on these platforms to aid children at home to study their course contents online,” it said.
“We also acknowledge the effort of the Sector minister Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh who has announced some strategic partnerships with Service providers, CSO’s and Media Organizations to create the virtual study platforms,” it added.
“Projections from Child Online Africa indicates that school children would have to spend more time on the internet in order to stay in ‘school’.”
“This situation will result in more spending on Data charges which is likely to create a situation where some parents will discourage their wards from staying online in order to reduce cost.”
“While an appeal to all Telecommunication operators to reduce or even impose a zero rate on educational Content is in order.”
“Given that the government of Ghana is enjoined by the constitution to remove all barriers to education, COA in the wake of this Pandemic sees government’s Communication Service Tax as a disincentive to the ‘online classrooms’ initiative,” according to the statement.