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‘1Teacher, 1 Laptop’ claims and counter-claims: here is what you need to know

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The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) appealed on 23rd September 2020 to the government at a Stakeholders Forum to provide each teacher with a laptop and modem to ensure innovative means of teaching and to enhance virtual learning during the COVID-19 period.

In February 2021, the government of Ghana through the Ghana Education Service (GES) announced plans to secure laptops for all teachers in the country after consulting with teacher unions. The project is dubbed ‘One teacher One Laptop (1T1L).

To ensure a right distribution process, the Deputy Director General of the GES, Anthony Boateng, sent letters to all Regional Directors to liaise with headmasters/mistresses of Senior High Schools in their regions to provide them with a validated list of names and staff ID numbers of teachers in their various schools.

Even before the launch of the initiative, the Ghana Education Service detected fraud in names submitted to their office.

They revealed some fake names with fake IDs were submitted for clearance.

The GES again issued a statement asking all District Directors of Education and Headteachers to validate the list sent and warned heads of schools  that irregularities identified in previously submitted lists constitute fraud.

The President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo on Tuesday, March 9, announced the acquisition of about two hundred and eighty thousand (280,000) laptops for teachers during his first State of the Nation’s Address.

This was also confirmed by the then Deputy Education Minister designate, Rev John Ntim Fordjour, on Thursday, 24th June 2021 at the 90th anniversary of the GNAT Investment Forum.

However, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia at the launch handed over 350,000 as against the earlier 280,000 announced, making it a total of seventy thousand additional laptops.

When did distribution start

On 3rd September 2021, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia launched the ‘One Teacher, One Laptop’ policy in Accra for onward distribution across the country 

The actual distribution later began on September 6, 2021 with Senior High School teachers taking the first delivery, followed by Junior High School teachers.

Under the programme, it is expected that all Kindergarten teachers in public schools receive a laptop under the initiative.

Teacher Unions claims 

The initiative has received a series of backlash from teacher unions across the country who have raised red flags over the cost.

First was a viral sound bite said to be an interview granted on Peace Fm by a yet to be identified person giving a different breakdown of the cost as against the earlier cost.

Some teacher unions such as All Teachers Alliance Ghana(ATAG), Innovative Teachers Union(ITU), say they suspect the cost of the laptops have been inflated and have thus petitioned the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate the procurement process and also called on their members to boycott the laptops.

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) have also criticised the GES insisting on the GHc1550 actual cost put out by the government.

Some teachers also took to their Facebook wall to ridicule the Ghana Education Service over the cost. 

Other unions are of the view that the laptops will lessen the burden on teachers. The Communications Director of the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT), Adokwei Ayikwei-Awulley in an interview granted on Adom TV on September 6, said the laptops will help teachers and urged union members to accept the computers, despite concerns raised about the cost. 

The usual political ‘finger pointing’ also waded in as sympathizers of National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party(NPP) began comparisons on their social media platforms.

A Former Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Bernard Mornah, joined the many who disagreed with the initiative. In an interview on Ghana Television on September 6, he said teachers need textbooks not laptops.

Entertainment pandits and enthusiasts also ‘locked horns’ over the benefits of giving out laptops to teachers while some schools remain under trees.

Ghana Education Service response

A Press statement issued by the Ghana Education Service(GES) and signed by the Head of Public Relations Unit, Madam Cassandra TWUM Ampofo on September 9, 2021, indicates the total cost of each laptop as Ghc1,831.47.

The GES said the government absorbed Ghc1,282.30 representing 70%  while each teacher paid GHc549.44 representing 30% of the cost.

Government: GHC 1,282.03 – 70%

Teacher: GHC 549.44 – 30%

Total 1,831.47 – 100%

Ministry of Education response 

Exactly four days after the launch, the Deputy Education Minister, Mr Ntim Fordjour, granted an interview to Umaru Sanda on the Face2face program on Citi Television. The Minister confirmed the cost of each laptop as Ghc1550.00 and not GHc1831.47 as announced earlier by the GES.

Speaking on Angel Fm’s flagship program, Angel in the morning, hosted by Kwame Tanko, the Deputy spokesperson of Ministry of Education, Mr Akosah Ernest, insisted that the actual cost of each laptop is GHC1550.00.

“The Deputy Minister has on several platforms stated the cost as earlier mentioned. There hasn’t been any change whatsoever and we stand by it. Again the 30% deduction isn’t from their salaries as it’s said elsewhere. It’s being taken from the Teacher Development Fund. This confirmation should be enough to clear all doubts and confusion,” he said.

When queried on the quality of the laptops, he added: 

“We’ve had concerns raised about the quality. I’m not a technical person but the laptops are not inferior. Also the ministry wouldn’t have procured them without the consent of the Teacher Unions. They were involved in the process from day one because they initiated the proposal and the Ministry bought into it. I don’t think the unions have intentions to shortchange anyone. They have their members at heart and won’t opt for any inferior laptops. We are not forcing the laptops on them, it’s a necessity and will help them.”

What is the laptop specification

The Ghana Education Service website describes the features of the Teachers Mate 1 laptops as follows:

Processor

Intel Gemini lake-R Celeron N4020 11-2.8 Ghz RAM 4 GB

Hard Drive

Solid State Drive 256GB

Display

1366 x 768 pixels

TN

14 inches

I/O Ports

USB 3.0 x1 +2.0x 2 ports

1x Micro SD card (up to 128GB)

1x Mimi HDMI

1xRJ45 port

1xMicrophone/ 2x Stereo speakers 8R/TW

Other Features

Front Camera

Bluetooth 4.0

Wifi 802:1 b/g/h

Battery Pack Lithium-ion polymer Battery

5000 mAh

Max Voltage 7.4V

AC Power Adaptor Input 100-240 VAC 50-60 Hz

Output Voltage 12.0 V 2.0A

In an interview with Dubawa, Mr James Amoah, a computer programmer and CEO of Tech Solutions Ghana, explained that the quality of intel celeron cannot be compared with the latest laptop specs like i3, i5, i7, Xeon.

“It will be out of place to totally discredit the quality of the celeron processor. This is because some of these processors are updated with time depending on the computer brand. However, if you’re interested in the speed of the machine, every Information Technology expert will certainly recommend the latest specs,” he added.

Funding

The seventy per cent (70%) of cost absorbed by the government is funded by GETFund. 

“GETFund is proud of its role in bringing the government’s vision to fruition and remains committed to investing in both physical infrastructure and initiatives such as this to improve teaching and learning outcomes in the country,” the Administrator of GETFund, Dr Richard AMPOFO Boadu said at the launch of the initiative.

About KA Technologies 

KA Technologies (KAT) is a registered private limited liability company in Ghana under the Companies Act, 2019 (ACT 992). 

The company is engaged in Manufacturing, Training, Connectivity and Technology Solutions for identifiable societal segments such as education, healthcare, and agriculture, among others.

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