Education Minister reveals unit price of each student mate 1 tablet

Smart Schools Project

The unit price for each Senior High School (SHS) student mate 1 tablet is $250, and not GHS250 as rumoured on various social media platforms, the Minister in Charge of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum has clarified.

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With 1.3 million tablets set for distribution, the Education Minister speaking on JoyNews Newsfile said the first batch of the distribution will see about 450,000 SM1 devices being distributed to students from next week.

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum said the amount of the 450,000 tablets is 112 million Ghana cedis. The entire 1.3 million students mate 1 tablets, the Member of Parliament for Bosomtwe added will amount to 337 million Ghana cedis.

Asked whether the government needed to spend a huge amount on tablets when the Free Senior High School policy was facing other pressing challenges, he said logistical challenges of the Free SHS programme are separate from budgetary constraints,

The Minister for Education clarified that funds allocated for this tablet project under the government’s digitalization agenda cannot be diverted to address feeding challenges faced by students under the Senior High School policy.

“The interesting thing about Free SHS is that you can have logistical challenges and that’s not a budget issue, so we have 1.4 million children miles away that we are feeding a day, you can have challenges where food may not have reached a certain location on time.

The idea is very simple; there are some people who will say use that in providing food for them, but no, there is a budget. There is a difference between a budget allocation and a cash flow allocation, so even if I want to, the law does not allow me to tell GETFUND that I need your money to buy food instead of the tablets you have allocated funds for in your funding formula, so there is a difference between a cash flow logistical issue and a budget issue,” Yaw noted.

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Commenting on the malfunctioning, breakdown or mishandling of the tablets by the students, Adutwum said schools with a population exceeding one thousand will have dedicated repair centres on-site to address any issues promptly.

The Sector Minister for Education emphasized that while gadget abuse is common when students understand that their academic success depends on the tablet, they are more diligent in using it, leading to increased carefulness.

“I will give you an example of what I did in one of my schools in the US. One interesting thing that happened when I deployed laptops at the time, we were dreading that the students would lose their laptops.

We had insurance on it. It turned out in the end that after three years when we evaluated the deployment of laptops in my school in the US, 100 per cent of the students’ laptops were intact. It was rather the teachers who lost their laptops,” he said.

“So you see, sometimes we underestimate the care that students give to the things that matter to them. When they know how much this matters to them they are not going to just destroy it. When they know that their homework is not going to be done if I do not take good care of this and you train them well and somebody is there to fix it for them, then there is insurance on it.

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