Ministry of Education considers terminating parts of GHS84m Wi-Fi for schools contract

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The Ministry of Education says it is considering terminating some parts of the government’s contract with Lifted Logistics Limited for the provision of internet connections for Senior High Schools (SHSs) across the country.

The ministry in a statement, signed by its spokesperson, Kwesi Kwarteng, said its evaluation of the contract against services provided indicates that some schools “are experiencing satellite connectivity challenges, a situation which has been attributed to the failure of Lifted Logistics’ Limited (formerly Busy Internet) to pay its providers.”

The ministry’s statement follows investigations by The Fourth Estate that revealed that government has paid Lifted Logistics GHS 56m though internet connectivity in most schools is next to non-existent.

The contract was awarded to provide internet services to SHSs in December 2019. But The Fourth Estate’s checks between June and July 2023 showed that 48 out of 50 schools visited had no internet connectivity.

In an interview with The Fourth Estate, Nana Gyamfi Adwabour, the Executive Director for the Centre for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling, revealed that a monitoring system was set up to review the contract with Busy Internet in September 2023, almost three years into the implementation of the project.

Mr Adwabour acknowledged that there was no real-time monitoring system in place for the project until September 2023, though such a system was supposed to be in place at the start of the project.

Background

In February 2020, Vice President Dr Mahamadu Bawumia launched the Free Wi-Fi for Schools programme in fulfilment of a 2016 manifesto promise by the governing New Patriotic Party to collaborate “with the private sector [to] provide free Wi-Fi coverage for senior secondary and tertiary institutions nationwide, dedicated to learning, administration and enhancing the capacity to do research.”

The Vice President said the project was part of a broader programme to bridge the technology gap in the country and improve learning through internet use.

Busy Internet won the contract on a sole-sourcing arrangement and then handed it over to Lifted Logistics.

Some school Information and Communications Technology coordinators complained that their complaints about poor or no internet connectivity have not been attended to for years. Yet, GHS56 million has been paid to Lifted Logistics, which only secured a conditional internet service provider license in February 2024 from the National Communications Authority.

 

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