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Key findings
  • Large majorities of Ghanaian households have radios (83%) and televisions (76%). Despite large rural disadvantages, radios and TVs are common even in rural households (76% and 62%, respectively).
  • Most Ghanaians (93%) either own or live in a household where someone else owns a mobile phone. However, only 45% of these phones have access to the Internet, and thus to online learning programs. In rural areas, fewer than one-third (31%) of mobile phones have access to the Internet.
  • Fewer than three in 10 Ghanaian households (28%) have a computer. Among rural and poor households, only about one in seven (14%) have a computer.
  • Six out of 10 Ghanaians (61%) never or rarely (“less than once a month”) use the Internet. Among rural and poor respondents, fewer than one in four go online at least “a few times a month.”
  • Lack of access to devices, the Internet, and reliable electricity, especially in rural and poor households, points to difficulties that many students would have in participating in MoE/GES e-learning programs.

To try to ensure continuous teaching and learning while schools are shut down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education (MoE) through the Ghana Education Service (GES) has introduced virtual learning platforms. Televised (Ghana Learning TV) and online (icampus) programs, along with a radio reading program, are to provide students the opportunity to continue studying their core subjects – mathematics, English, science, and social studies – as well as selected electives (Graphic, 2020; Myjoyonline, 2020; News Ghana, 2020).

As in many other African countries (Krönke, 2020), these virtual platforms are intended to help ensure inclusive and equitable access to and participation in education at all levels. The question is how many students will be able to access them.

Data from the Afrobarometer Round 8 (2019) survey in Ghana suggest that many students – especially those living in rural or poor households – will find it difficult or impossible to participate in these e-learning initiatives because they don’t have access to the necessary devices, to the Internet, or to reliable electricity. These findings point to a need to prioritize radio and television programs in the short run and invest in expanded access to online resources for the longer haul.

Mavis Zupork Dome

Mavis is the national investigator for Ghana

Daniel Armah-Attoh

Daniel is the surveys manager for North and Anglophone West Africa