Executive Director of Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch), Kofi Asare, has disclosed that it is the responsibility of government to supply teachers with laptops in order to guarantee they exercise their duties accordingly under the ‘One Teacher, One Laptop initiative introduced by government.
According to him, the supply of laptops to teachers will not only enable the teaching of ICT but ensure that teachers use other applications relevant within the context of the educational reform system. Mr Asare explained that it is vital for teachers to be incentivised to ensure they carry out their responsibilities in the classrooms.
“Last year when government announced the collaboration with teacher unions, I indicated that ideally, it’s government’s responsibility, it is the duty of the employer under section 91 of the Labour law to provide working tools for the employee. So, the fact is that it is government’s onerous responsibility to buy laptops for teachers to enable them deliver…”Mr Kofi Asare
It will be recalled that government, in collaboration with some Teacher Unions, started the distribution of 280,000 laptops to all teachers in public schools in September across the country. Launching the initiative dubbed, ‘One Teacher One Laptop’, Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia stated that the project is to help improve the quality of education. However, on November 15, 2021, two unions: Innovative Teachers and All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG), jointly sued government over its move to award the contract of the ‘one teacher, one laptop’ initiative to K. A Technologies Ltd.
The group in a press statement indicated that having monitored the narrative about ‘one teacher, one laptop’ initiative, had agreed that teachers must be given laptops by the government as part of government’s responsibility in accordance with Section 9(a) of the Labour Law (Act 651); but explained that it is illegal and unfair for government to use teachers’ annual Continuous Professional Development Allowances in funding parts of the laptops.
The statement revealed that the poor I.C.T education teachers received with no practical skills prior to their employment is the most “cogent reason” why teachers must be given “quality laptops of brands” that have been tried and tested.
Commenting on the quality of laptops presented to teachers, Mr Kofi Asare revealed that if government is providing teachers with laptops, it must be “fit for purpose”. He noted that the laptops given to teachers is very slow especially when speed and memory are being considered in the supply of laptops to these teachers.
“The spec is very low. It will be slow. It is not ideally what a teacher will need to engage in virtual learning… There’s a similar facility that was organized by the Ghana National Council for Private School for their private school teachers. They also arranged for 200,000 laptops from a local supplier under similar circumstances. But their laptops are twice a spec from the ones that government is buying for our teachers. Their RAM is 8gig and not 4gig…”Mr Kofi Asare
Award of One Teacher One Laptop initiative contract
The President of the Innovative Teachers, Mr Stephen Desu, however, alleged that the company, K. A. Technologies Limited, contracted for the sole-sourcing of the ‘One Teacher, One Laptop’ has no track records in manufacturing laptops to warrant an award of such a deal.
“The handling [of the contract] has been very bad. It’s completely illegal when it comes to procurement. This company called K.A. Technologies has no track record in manufacturing laptops in Ghana and as such is not qualified for this contract. All the documentations they took to P.P.A, they hurriedly got them in November. A company with no certification from Ghana Standard Authority, how did they get this contract?”.Mr Stephen Desu
On his part, National President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers, Angel Carbonu, described the position of the President of the Innovative Teachers union, Stephen Desu, as “populism and demagoguery”. He asserted that the teacher unions, in negotiation with Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education, recognizing the need for IT, in a portion known as “blended learning”, started the initiative.
The NAGRAT President emphasized that when it comes to the brand of computers, they are well aware of what is available on the market but stressed on the fact that brands such Lenovo computers, Del, HD and Apple computers “cost money” . In lieu of this, Mr Carbonu explained that considerations were made with regards to the income of the teachers, the availability of money and “readiness and preparedness of government”, all in a bid to make a “prudent decision” and one which serves the interest of the Ghanaian teacher.
“We are not saying that we’ve gotten the ultimate, but what we are saying is that we have secured a tool for the Ghanaian teacher, for the Ghanaian teacher to start doing his work with that tool to enhance his teaching and learning activity”.
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