Kwabena Amankwah Asiema (3rd from right), Chairman of the committee, together with Dr Clement Apaak (right), Deputy Ranking Member, Nortsu-Kotoe (2nd from right), Ranking Member, and Dr. Kingsley Nyarko, a Deputy Minister designate and committee member, after the field visit.
Kwabena Amankwah Asiema (3rd from right), Chairman of the committee, together with Dr Clement Apaak (right), Deputy Ranking Member, Nortsu-Kotoe (2nd from right), Ranking Member, and Dr. Kingsley Nyarko, a Deputy Minister designate and committee member, after the field visit.

MPs demand prompt payment for tablets for students

Members of the Education Committee of Parliament have commended what they call prompt intervention by government to ensure Ghana’s education sector is not left out of the fourth industrial revolution. 

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The MPs say the successful execution of the Ghana Smart Schools Project (GSSP) has safeguarded the country’s active participation in the new era of education delivery characterised by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digitalisation.

They have, however, called on the government to ensure uninterrupted execution of the project by making prompt payments to service providers.  The Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, Kwabena Amankwah Asiamah, was speaking to newsmen after a field visit to the factories of KA Technologies Ltd in Accra.

KA Technologies are the manufacturers of the Students’ Mate Tablets the government is distributing to schools under the One Student – One Tablet initiative, intended to promote digitalised teaching and learning in schools as part of the Ghana Smart Schools Project (GSSP) which President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo launched in March this year.

The project entails the conversion of existing schools into smart schools as well as the provision of technology-assisted devices to both teachers and students to enhance teaching, learning and research.  

Last month, the company had a similar visit by the Minister for primary, secondary and technical education of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tony Mwaba Kazadi. The tablets have teaching and learning management systems and digital learning content required to revolutionise education delivery as the country seeks to embrace the fourth industrial revolution.

Oversight responsibilities

The committee’s visit was in fulfilment of their oversight responsibilities on matters and issues concerning the education sector in general and in compliance with the performance of their constitutional mandate.

The Chairman of the committee, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Fanteakwa, said because Ghana could not be left out of the numerous technological and innovative advancements in education, they found recent interventions in the sector commendable.

“We would like to encourage the government to quicken payments so that after the initial 30 schools, they can fast-track the distribution of the tablets to all students in Ghana to augment the government’s intention to take on STEM activities for all students so that we can fully join the 4th Industrial Revolution, which is AI and automation, we cannot be left behind,” he said.

He was pleased that the government chose an indigenous company to assist it in delivering on the project. The committee which was led by Mr Asiamah included the Ranking Member and Member of Parliament for Akatsi North, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe.

The parliamentary delegation toured the company’s production lines, aftercare and call centres, and interacted with the management who briefed them on its operations. The MPs were accompanied by some officials of the Ministry of Education, the Commission???? on TVET and the free SHS Secretariat. 

Minority

Meanwhile, the Deputy Ranking Member of the Committee, Dr Clement Apaak, said the Minority in Parliament was pushing for a comprehensive roadmap in the distribution of the tablets under the GSSP.

According to him, the position of the group was to ensure an effective monitoring of the distribution to ensure no school or student was left out of the project. “We have been told that the distribution will be done in phases, we want a full rollout and that is what we are looking for,” he explained.

Dr Apaak, the MP for Builsa South, also expressed pleasure at the outcome of their visit. “So far what we have seen is reassuring. We got a detailed briefing about the tablets, the functionality and the capacity, and we have been taken to the unit where the tablets are being assembled,” he added.

“What is also exciting is that this is also a local company which also means that the jobs to be created are going to benefit Ghanaians and the money being paid as well as the tablets are all going to benefit Ghanaians”.

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