The Ministry of Education has appealed to telcos operating in the country to waive all charges on educational content for students as government plans to roll out a virtual learning platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to the closure of schools.
President Akufo-Addo directed schools in the country to shut down for four weeks effective Monday, March 16, 2020, as part of other measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Globally, millions of students are out of school to curtail the spread of the virus, although some have taken teaching and learning to virtual platforms to keep up.
Data usage has gone up drastically, as many students are now at home, while some workers are also operating from home.
Speaking at a press conference, the Minister for Education, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, called on telcos in the country to support government’s impending virtual learning platform.
“We want the telcos to zero rate the cost of online educational materials. Meaning that if you have educational material on the virtual platforms it will be free. Vodafone is the only telco doing it now. We hope in due time, all the telcos will do same,” he stressed.
Dr. Opoku Prempah said efforts have been made to appeal to the telcos through the Ministry of Communication to get the waivers.
He disclosed that the Ghana Education Service has already secured the online learning platforms, but the cost of accessing it is key to encouraging the students.
“After the President’s directive, UNESCO got in touch with us so that Ghana can take part in the online learning through social media, traditional media broadcast; so education can continue because UNESCO had anticipated there was going to be a break in education all around the world. In the media, WAEC announced that the exams have been postponed. So we recalled the final year students to go home.”
He stated that the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication, has been tasked to roll out distance learning programmes.
Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ghana
As at Wednesday March 23, 2020, Ghana had a total of 68 cases with three deaths.
Many of the new cases were confirmed among the 1,030 people who are under mandatory quarantine in the country after arriving at the Kotoka International Airport hours to the deadline for the closure of the country’s borders.