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Business News of Thursday, 26 March 2020

Source: GNA

Education Minister appeals to Telcos to zero rate educational materials

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

The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has appealed to telecommunication companies operating in Ghana to zero rate educational materials.

Zero rating teaching and learning materials by telcos, would enable distance learning content to be provided to students free of charge 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 Ministry of Communications, the education ministry would get all Telcos to zero rate content delivery in education so that Ghanaian students could participate.

He noted that the scheme was very much dependent on collaboration between ministries of Information and Communications.

“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.

He 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 “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 added.

“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 course contents in the Senior High School and was ready to go.

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

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

He said the materials were already available to every senior high school student who accessed with a password on the icampus and was available for free.

He said one of the reasons why they wanted the Ministry of Communications to come in, was that in certain parts of the country it was only one telcos network, which was predominant.

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,” the Minister said.

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 noted that partnering non-state actors was key and mentioned some as Scholastic, Plan International, Edumundo, and development partners and telecommunication networks.