The Minority Caucus in Parliament has questioned a directive from the Ministry of Education to the 46 Colleges of Education (CoE) to pay GH¢6.8m for Wi-Fi service.
In a letter available to the Ghanaian Times, the sector minister, Dr Yaw Adutwum, asked the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) to facilitate the payment of the amount to internet service provider, Busy Internet, following a review of the contract for the provision of internet service to pre-tertiary schools.
According to the letter, the decision had become necessary because the free Wi-Fi initiative was overburdening the funding for the free SHS.
Last year, the government announced a free Wi-Fi service for all 722 public Senior High Schools and higher institutions of learning to enhance their studies as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
But in a statement to question the decision of the government to bill the CoE for what it said was free, Dr Clement Apaak, the Deputy Ranking Member on the Education Committee of Parliament said there was no justification for the directive because they were not a party to the contract.
“No MoUs were signed between the Colleges and Busy Internet, no official discussion was held with Principals of the Colleges of Education nor their National Executives on what the provision of free Wi-Fi connectivity and Even GTEC was not aware of the facility and the terms of agreement.
“The only official letter the Colleges have seen mentioning Busy Internet service in relation to free wifi services in their schools is the one by the Minister announcing a decision to bill all Colleges that supposedly benefitted” DrApaak, MP, Builsa South, stated.
DrApaak further alleged that the free wifi service “never worked for even a day” in the Colleges till date.
“So why have these institutions been asked to pay for the installation and the use of wifi services they have not used. Where does the government expect the colleges of education to get the money from to pay for a free service they never used. Will students be billed for a free wifi service that they have not used?” he asked.
To him, providing free WiFi to public Senior Secondary Schools and Universities, and asking Colleges of Education to pay for same raises many questions.
Reiterating that the CoE have no financial obligation to Busy Internet, DrApaak indicated that he would pursue this in addition to asking for accountability with regards to the policy to provide free WiFi services to all public educational institutions.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI