Government supports tertiary institutions with $3.4m for Internet access

Government through the Ministry of Communications has invested $3.4 million in campus internet networks under the Tertiary Institutions Access Project (TIAP) in eight public institutions.

This connectivity among the institutions, will not only advance research and education locally with opportunities such as e-learning and cloud computing, but equally benefit scientific studies the world over in areas including climate change, biodiversity, food security, Malaria, among other infectious diseases.

Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications made this known when she swore-in a nine-member board of the Ghana Academic and Research Network (GARNET) in Accra.

She said poor internet connectivity in the sub-region had been a challenge in the digital divide between developing and industrialised countries, hampering its transitions to the global information society as the continent was currently underserved in terms of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

“The collaboration among tertiary education institutions in Africa is imperative to make them key players in the enhancement of ICT for society,” she noted.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said since government was committed to supporting GARNET, it has also paid 275,000 Euros in March this year, to the West and Central Africa Research and Education Network (WACREN) and AfricaConnect2 Project, GARNET’s partners through the e-Transform Project.

The Minister explained that additional resources provided by the European Union on a 4:1 ratio bandwidth of 10Gigabites, would be available in September this year.

She said tertiary institutions were to reap the full benefits of GARNET at a cheaper cost in accessing internet services to enhance teaching, research and collaboration as well as play a vital role in the African higher education arena effective.

It is also to provide access to scholarly works and other resource materials and create the environment in which students, researchers and academicians can work more efficiently, she stressed.

The Minister was quick to add that in as much as internet is made easily accessible; the sector had also set up a national cyber security centre to check cyber-crimes.

Professor Mohammed Salifu, Executive Secretary for National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), and a representative of the Minister of Education said the collaboration would promote international network, which fits perfectly in the educational ministry as it would ensure national development.

Professor Gabriel Ayim Teye, Chairman of the Vice Chancellors’ Ghana (VCG) said GARNET was made up of accredited tertiary institutions and other specialised professional and research institutions.

The Network, he said, brings research under one umbrella and so members would have access to affordable infrastructure.

Professor Clifford Nii Boye Tagoe, Chairman of the new Board and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana commended former vice chancellors including Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyeman for their resilience in sustaining the body.

He said the reconstitution of the board had come at the time when computer mediated teaching was gaining prominence and appealed to government to send ICT infrastructure to the door-step of every educational institution.

The Board is made up of Professor Tagoe, Chairman and Mr Alex Frimpong, Ghana Employers’ Association’s CEO, Mrs Mavis Sintim-Misa, CEO-Stinsad Consult, Mrs Joycelyn Coleman-KPMG, Dr Peter Amoako Yirenkyi, Representative of VCG and Mr Jacob Akunor, Ministry of Education are all members.

Other members are Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyeman, Professor Akwasi Asabre Ameyaw, Vice-Chancellor, Methodist University and Mr Issah Yahaya, Director, MoC.

Source: GNA

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