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Increase telecommunication access in rural schools – Ken Ashigbey to gov’t

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The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunication, Mr. Kenneth Ashigbey is urging the government to increase access to telecommunication services in the educational institutions in rural communities.

According to him, creating access to telecommunications tools at the educational institutions in rural communities will help students in rural areas to compete fairly with their colleagues in privileged communities.

He said following the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the areas which has been badly affected by the disease was in the area of education and that as many students moved to the digital space to access learning materials and as well as taking their tuition online, it will be necessary to create such opportunities for students in rural communities as well.

Mr. Ashigbey was speaking at “Cybersecurity roundtable discussion on embracing change and digital transformation in COVID-19” on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, at the Accra Digital Centre in Accra. The roundtable discussion formed part of the activities to mark this year’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which is on the theme: “Cybersecurity in the Era of COVID-19”.

The event is meant to educate children, the public, businesses and government stakeholders on cyber hygiene best practices, consistent with the Safer Digital Ghana campaign. Mr. Ashigbey also expressed the worry that in many areas, teachers do not have access to telecommunications device, with many not having the competencies to use such electronic gadgets.

“So a time has come for us to have a complete shift; a complete change of mind; to say that going forward, education cannot be like the way it’s being in the past. And there is so much we have to do and there is so little time to be able to do that…,” he noted. For him, there should be access to digital space by all students such that all students no matter where they live in the country could equally have access to online resources like their counterparts in privileged communities.

Mr. Ashigbe was of the view that creating access to telecommunication services in rural schools could be achieved if there was a collaboration between the private, public sectors and the technology sectors.

“The challenge currently is that if the last child in Ghana cannot have access to telecommunication service, how is he going to learn? How is he going to compete?” he quizzed. He also urged parents to teach their children cyber hygiene, pointing out that teaching children cyber hygiene will help them to be safe online.

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