The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has described the decision of both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to introduce free wifi services on the various university campuses if elected into office as laudable and a clear appreciation of one of the problems students faced in the country.
It said the decision of the two main parties indicated that political parties were doing a lot of research to find out the real needs of the people.
It, however, expressed the hope that the two parties would implement such a policy if any of them won power during this year’s general elections.
“We think they must be commended for such efforts,” the President of NUGS, Mr. Isaac Hyde told the Daily Graphic.
At the launch of the NPP’s manifesto on August 22, 2020, the Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia said the next administration of the party was going to provide senior high schools and tertiary institutions across the country with free wifi.
“The process has started and a contract has already been awarded. The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is also levelling its fibre network across the country,” he said, adding that government was expecting the work on the free wifi initiative to be completed by the year 2021.
During the launch of the NDC’s manifesto, the running mate of former President John Mahama, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang said when elected into power, the NDC would put up free wifi zones in both public and private tertiary institutions in the country.
“So we would provide free laptops to tertiary students to facilitate participation in online classes. We would also establish free wifi zones in all public and private tertiary institutions,” she said.
Many tertiary institutions in the country were compelled to adopt online studies to continue their academic work following the closure of schools on March 15, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, many other institutions were not able to fully migrate to online due to the lack of a robust IT system, while many students also complained about the high cost of internet data.
Mr. Hyde noted that the free wifi initiative was very much necessary as it could boost learning among students and help to broaden the scope of ICT education and research.
“The importance of wifi services cannot be overemphasised as it was clearly seen when we had to move to the learning management system during the closure of schools. One of the biggest issues that came at that time had to do with the cost of data because without data, there was no way you can access teaching and learning facilities.