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Call for distance learning programme to be done offline over coronavirus outbreak

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Government has been urged to ensure that the distant learning programme to be implemented by the Ministries of Communication and Education in the wake of the closure of schools and universities is done offline.

This is to ensure that the beneficiaries are not limited to students who can afford data.

President of the Graduate Students’ Association of Ghana (GRASAG), GIJ Chapter, Nicholas Antwi made this appeal in an interview with Radio Ghana’s Nathaniel Nartey after the President announced an indefinite closure of schools and Universities.

In a televised address to the nation on Sunday, March 15, 2020, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, directed schools in Ghana to shut down effective Monday, March 16, 2020.

“All Universities, Senior High Schools, and basic schools, i.e. public and private schools, will be closed Monday, 16th March 2020, till further notice. The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication, has been tasked to roll out distance learning programmes,” he said.

But Nicholas Antwi, GIJ Chapter of GRASAG President, maintained: “I think it’s a good initiative but it must be replaced with some digital learning structure to ensure the academic calendar is not affected. These platforms run on data (internet) but there are also offline platforms that can be created to make it easily accessible to students. We need to ensure that the platform that will be made available for reading materials and lecture tutorials can be accessed offline.”

“The alternative, which is to use the online platform requires data (internet),” he noted, adding that, “which means government will have to provide the data free of charge to students, something I think will not be feasible.”

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