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General News of Thursday, 26 March 2020

Source: GNA

Coronavirus: Education Minister appeals to telecos to zero rate educational materials

Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education

Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister of Education, has appealed to telecos operating in the country to zero-rate educational materials.

He said the zero-rating of educational materials by the telecos, would enable distance learning content to be provided for students for free in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Speaking at the Meet the Press Series in Accra, Dr Opoku Prempeh said, he was hopeful that through the support of the Ministry of Communication, they would get all telecos companies to zero rate content delivery in education; so that Ghanaian students could participate.

He noted that the programme was very much dependent on collaboration between the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Communication.

“We also hope, through the Ministry of Information; radio stations and TV stations will see the national agency in participating in their quota to ensure that educational content is delivered,” he said.

Dr Opoku Prempeh said some TV stations had informed his outfit that they were having 24-hour channels and that they would turn them up for educational content; stating that “and we need more”.

“We need free to air broadcast so that everybody, everywhere in the country; as soon as there is a TV you can get access to that,” he said.

“Likewise we want to implore radio stations to help as much as they can. To me, broadcast, when we start (will have) periods in kindergarten, periods in lower primary, periods in upper primary, periods in junior high school and senior high school.”

Dr Opoku Prempeh said the Centre for Distance Learning Organisations had developed an online programme for the course contents in the Senior High School and was ready to go.

He said it had already even given every senior high school student password and access to an icampus system; where on the icampus system they have notes with exercises, over 20,000 interactive quizzes, audiovisual learning including virtual laboratories.

Others are interactive lessons and over three thousand sets of notes and audiovisual resources form opened educational resources.

The Minister said these materials were already available to every senior high school student who accesses with his password on icampus and was available for free.

He said one of the reasons why they wanted the Ministry of Communication to come in, was that in certain parts of the country it was only one telecos network, which was predominantly; however, when they got all the networks to buy into it and zero rate it for them, they could be sure for all senior high school students it was available for them.

“For the junior high school students, we have an institution that is already broadcasting it in the junior high school and upper primary in parts of Eastern Region and Volta Region; that have made their studios available for us to develop the content and also broadcast it.”

He said the group prime international had made available five studios for them so that they could bring in more teachers to help them deliver the core subjects content area.

He mentioned that collaborating with non-state actors included Scholastic, Plan International, Edumundo, and development partners and other telecommunication networks that had spoken to.

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