Telcos urged to make internet access free for primary school students

Telecommunication companies have been urged to subsidise internet costs for basic schools in order to enhance the use of education technology.

Speaking during the EdTech Monday segment on the Citi Breakfast Show, Jorge Appiah, the Director of Ghana Tech Lab, urged telcos to view this “as a long term investment so they can help us reduce the cost of the internet now, especially for education content.”

Mr. Appiah made the case that the basic school students benefiting from subsidised data costs will, in turn, offer dividends to the telcos when they reach higher levels of education.

He noted that “if you give it to them [students] free in primary schools, when they get to the universities and SHS, they will still be digital consumers, which indirectly or directly raises revenues for telcos.”

“Within 20 years, we are going to have a population which has a lot of people having access to digital devices and a lot of them will find themselves on the internet. This will lead to huge consumption of data which benefits the telcos and those providing internet services.“

“They should see it as their way of helping to accelerate the economy into a digital consumption economy… so the telcos should see it as a long-term investment and their contribution in building a digital consumption population,” he explained.

In general, Mr. Appial stressed that all stakeholders in digital education; telcos, the government and parents, need to appreciate that “the future of education is definitely e-learning.”

EdTech Monday is an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation Regional Centre for Teaching and Learning in ICT.

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organisations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work.  It is one of the largest private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organisation with its own Board of Directors and management.

In Ghana, after more than a decade working with the private sector and government to promote financial inclusion and education through its Scholars Program, the Mastercard Foundation launched Young Africa Works, a 10-year strategy to enable 3 million young Ghanaians, particularly young women, to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.

Young Africa Works in Ghana aims to:

  • Enable the growth of women-owned enterprises through business development services, access to finance, and access to markets.
  • Enable young people to acquire skills that are needed by businesses in growing sectors of the economy and strengthen the quality of education to prepare students for the world of work.
  • Scale digital training and strengthen technology-focused employment opportunities.

EdTech Monday is one of the initiatives of the Foundation’s Regional Centre for Teaching and Learning in ICT aimed at leveraging Technology to advance teaching and Learning.

 

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