Ghana is collaborating with the Open University UK to deploy a distance learning programme for all universities in the country.
The collaboration, which involves licensing content, technical assistance and capacity building, is in response to the expected huge numbers of the first batch of the free SHS products who will pursue tertiary education in the 2020/21 academic year.
The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, announced this at a press briefing to give an update on how the ministry was complying with the directive by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the ministry to roll out online programmes and distance learning, in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications, in Accra last Tuesday.
Describing the Open University UK as the number one in the world, he announced that the university had created a dedicated online portal for Ghanaian students through the Ghanaian universities.
“So, for instance, if you go to the University of Ghana, it has a swathe of courses that it wants to use Open University resources and that will be available for use and that, potentially, will increase the population of our university students by over 30,000 and counting.
“And the more we get students to get on it, the less we have to pay. That technology is available, ready to be deployed, and it is one of the arsenals we have in our preparedness for SHS students to enter the university,” Dr Prempeh said.
He said as a medium-term arrangement, during which Ghana would be expected to pay for the portal, it was expected that after four years of the partnership, Ghana should be able to locally host the Open University Ghana to guide and guard all distance learning education in the country.
He was happy that the Open University UK had mechanisms and the resources to police that, adding that the government would want all the universities in the country to acquire the portal for free.
“The government is going to acquire this technology and the technical ability and capability for all universities in Ghana for free,” the minister said, adding that the outbreak of the COVID-19 might require the immediate actualisation of the facility.
Digital literacy project
“Moving from medium to long term, we have a digital literacy project that is going to allow a company to come here, under the One-district, One-factory initiative, and establish a manufacturing base on smart tablets, mobile telephones and laptops,” he announced.
He explained that the purpose for the establishment of the factory was to ensure that every child and teacher in the educational system got access to Information and Communications Technology, both as a subject course and as a tool, to ensure better teaching and learning.
Dr Prempeh said that would be in line with the attempt to make Ghana a learning and knowledge nation, adding that the ministry would ensure that “we have a knowledge bank and an assessment bank, both in the cloud”.
He said all the educational materials would be in the cloud, so that everybody in the country who would want to study would have access to materials for free through the knowledge in the cloud bases.