Former President, John Mahama has described government's distribution of tablets to high school students as a form of vote-buying.

This comes after the government in March launched a program that will make tablets available to over one million students to aid in teaching and learning.

Addressing a student forum at the Wisconsin University in Accra, the NDC flagbearer said government initiated this policy to convince the students who are turning 18 to vote for the NPP in the December polls.

He stated that, “you bring a new curriculum, the children have no textbooks in basic schools for the last four years and you think that giving pre-tertiary students tablets is more important. Of course, everybody knows the political expediency."

"The pre-tertiary students are going to register in May because some of them are going to be 18 and above. Some are 18 already and they are going to be the ones voting. So this is a gift to entice them to vote for the current government. It’s a bribe for them to vote for this government but I mean the students do not exist in isolation. They live in households and families," Mr Mahama added.

According to him, other priorities in the education sector need to be addressed, including funding for school-feeding.

President Akufo-Addo launched the One Student, One Tablet initiative for Senior High School students on March 25, 2024.

The initiative, aimed towards advancing computer literacy and technological know-how of young Ghanaian students, will see the government providing pre-programmed laptops to each SHS student across the county.

“To distribute 1.3 million educational tablets to students in SHSs. That is one student, and one tablet under the Ghana Smart Schools Project. The tablets are fitted with digital content to aid research, teaching and learning," President Akufo-Addo said at the launch.

“The next phase of FSHS policy enhancement will be propelled by digitalisation. This will allow a seamless online and offline teaching and learning experience,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, on Saturday, announced that the first batch of 450,000 free student tablets fully funded through the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND) will be distributed soon.

According to him, the distribution of tablets has been categorized into three phases, with 450,000 to be distributed to 32 schools to ensure the effective distribution of a total of 1.3 million tablets.

However, Mr Mahama is convinced the gesture will not influence the votes of the beneficiaries.

“Bankers have become Uber drivers. Those are the same people whose children are in pre-tertiary education. So you think if you give his child a tablet, the child will vote for you? After what you have done to their parents? Most of these children go home and their parents struggle to put a meal on the table for them.”

But the Executive Director for National Distance Learning, Nana Gyamfi Adwabour insists the distribution is part of the initiative by the government to ensure quality education.

According to him, research conducted shows that tablet is needed for students to fully participate in the fourth industrial revolution.

“It is very unfortunate for anyone to say it has any political connotations looking at the times we are in especially in the fourth industrial revolution where we are all transitioning everything online. We don’t want to leave any child out in this transformational agenda and also to deepen quality," he said on JoyFM's Midday.

“The SDG 4 talks about equity, quality and of course access. And now we have given them access through the free SHS and of course, we have gotten the equity so what is left is quality to be deepened. So the tablet is for quality not anything for political gains or vote buying that anyone will suggest,” he said.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.