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Education Ministry Refutes Allegations of Wi-Fi Programme Mismanagement

The Fourth Estate reported that the government has paid GHC56m to a service provider, but the beneficiary schools do not have access to the internet. However in a press statement by the Ministry, the government has been working to improve the country's education system through various initiatives such as this.

The Ministry of Education has denied allegations contained in a recent report by The Fourth Estate Media on the Wi-Fi for Schools Programme, describing them as untrue.

The Ministry claims that the report, which alleges service delivery failures and public funds misuse presents an inaccurate narrative. This was made public in a press release dated June 3, 2024, and signed by the Ministry’s spokesperson, Kwasi Kwarteng.

The Fourth Estate reported that the government had paid ¢56m to a service provider, but the beneficiary schools do not have access to the internet.

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“In line with the Government’s Education transformation agenda, the Ministry of Education undertook a significant initiative to boost internet connectivity in educational institutions in 2019. This programme extended internet access to Senior High Schools, Colleges of Education, Regional and District Education offices across Ghana, thereby enhancing learning, administration, and research capabilities,” an excerpt of the statement read.

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The Ministry added that the project was carefully planned and approved by the Public Procurement Authority with a focus on ensuring efficient and cost-effective implementation.

“The Ministry secured Public Procurement Authority (PPA) approval for two phases of the project. Phase one (1). In August 2019, to engage Busy Internet Ghana Limited for Wi-Fi provision in 717 Senior High Schools at a cost of ¢59,909,658.00.

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This covered supply, installation, and maintenance of hardware devices, with a recurring sum of dedicated internet not exceeding ¢2.673,013.44,” an excerpt of the statement read.

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In line with the review clause in the contract signed in 2019, the spokesperson noted that the upward review clause was duly approved by the Public Procurement Authority.

“An upward review of monthly recurring costs was approved by the PPA and capped to an amount not exceeding ¢11,522,661.81 in 2023 due to the prevailing Inflation, and foreign exchange rates. Despite the approved amount of recurring expenditure, it is important to understand that the Ministry only pays for the accessible dedicated Internet and not necessarily the total capped monthly cost, ” a part of the statement read

The Ministry also said the contract with the Wi-Fi supplier includes a prorated compensation clause, which means that if the service is down for more than half a month, the Ministry won’t pay for that month.

“Service compensation for the payment of any monthly cost is prorated as required by the terms of the contract. Specifically, the contract provides that the supplier shall be compensated on a pro-rata basis. The effect is that any downtime up to and exceeding half of a particular month will not be paid for. This means that despite the approved amount of recurring expenditure, the Ministry does not pay a pesewa if services do not reach the 50, (less than half of the month) threshold in a particular month,” Mr Kwarteng said.

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