MoE to be hauled to Parliament over GH¢84m Free SHS Wi-Fi deal

Free SHS Wi-Fi deal

The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum would be summoned to Parliament to answer questions about the free Wi-Fi provided to Senior High Schools, a Deputy Ranking Member of Parliament’s Education Committee, Dr Clement Apaak has disclosed.

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Dr Apaak in an interview monitored by Thisterm.com said the Minister in the meantime has been asked to address unresolved questions about the free Wi-Fi contract saying he will be brought before Parliament if he fails to do the needful.

Citing the need for transparency in the activities of the Minister for Education, the Parliament Education Committee member revealed that he has been pursuing the Minister for answers about this deal for three years without success.

“When we resume tomorrow [Tuesday], I will speak to my leadership and I believe the committee of education now has a justifiable basis to wheel in the minister to respond to these questions before the committee and if he refuses to do so, then, we will have no choice than to file a motion to the speaker asking for him to be brought to answer the questions that I posed that he should have answered two-three years ago,” he said.

Dr Clement’s comment comes after The Fourth Estate said a five-year contract awarded to Busy Internet to provide Wi-Fi internet service to public Senior High Schools was without the necessary parliamentary approval, as mandated by Ghana’s Public Financial Management Act in 2018.

In its investigative report, the Estate highlighted that Busy Internet was chosen over industry leaders like MTN, which had recently been licensed to provide 4G internet services, and Surfline Ghana Limited, another 4G service provider. 

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The report said despite Buys Internet winning the contract, Busy Internet subcontracted MTN Ghana and AirtelTigo to deliver the services it had promised to provide to secondary schools and education offices nationwide. 

The Estate report said the Wi-Fi system initially functioned well, providing internet access to some government Senior High Schools (SHSs) in the country, however, connectivity issues soon arose, and many schools lost access.

It said its visit to 50 schools in 2023 revealed that 48 of them had been without internet connection for several months adding Numerous complaints to Busy Internet’s customer service went unresolved, leading to frustration and anger among the schools. 

“The original contract between Busy Internet and the Ministry of Education set the project cost at GHS84.4 million, with the Education Ministry also committed to a monthly recurrent cost of GHS6.4 million for maintaining internet connectivity in schools and educational offices,” the Fourth Estate said in the investigative report.

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