Civil organization, Center for Public Opinion and Awareness (CenPOA) has called on the government to halt the intended provision of Laptop Computers to Senior High Students.
“We believe that this initiative, although backed by good intentions, is not well thought through.
“We laud the government’s previous initiative of distributing laptops to all teachers in the country since we are in a technological age and teachers may need them for research and preparation of lessons. “However, we completely disagree with the government on its reasons for the provision of laptops to students”.
A statement signed by Michael Donyina Mensah and copied to the Ghana News Agency said in many advanced countries with well-developed educational systems, students still used textbooks as a means of acquiring knowledge.
“In fact, there is no scientific research to prove that the use of electronic books is more effective and improves learning outcomes than textbooks. On the contrary, health experts have warned that prolonged computer use may cause computer vision syndrome with symptoms such as eye irritation (dry eyes, itchy eyes, red eyes) and blurred vision.
“Besides, it is very doubtful that students will not be distracted and will use these laptops only for learning. Their ability to protect these devices from damage and theft is also highly questionable”.
The statement said Ghana’s educational sector was still facing many challenges, most of which were perennial, and this had affected access and quality.
“With over 5,000 schools under trees, school feeding and free SHS programs under severe stress due to financial constraints, we maintain that government’s decision to provide these laptops to SHS students is misguided and an affront to taxpaying Ghanaians who expect the judicious use of public resources.
“If the government still has any budget to spend on computers, we recommend that any such funds should be used in establishing additional computer libraries and equipping already existing ones with modern computers and sustainable internet connectivity.
“Provision of such IT infrastructure in senior high schools, accessible by both learners and teachers, is enough to support research and other learning activities.
The statement said replacing textbooks with laptops may sound expedient, but it was not necessary at this time, especially when the country was facing a deep financial crisis and was fraught with many social challenges.
“We therefore call on the Minister for Education to halt any plans to distribute laptops to SHS students as announced by the Vice President and rather, channel any such resources to addressing more critical challenges facing the education sector”.