A former Vice President, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, has suggested that the government rejects Microsoft’s assistance to a Ghanaian pupil teacher who recently went viral on social media for drawing the entire Microsoft Word window on a blackboard for his students because there was no computer for him to demonstrate to them.
According to Amissah-Arthur, the government must learn to weigh various forms of assistance and intervention, and reject those that are “too small that we are able to do ourselves.”
Speaking in a Citi News interview, the economist and former Bank of Ghana Governor indicated that the New Patriotic Party government’s ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda is ambiguous and fails to indicate what exactly it means for the country’s development.
“Ghana Beyond Aid, but we are accepting a Microsoft computer…. So when is aid not aid?” he quizzed.
33-year-old Richard Appiah Akoto, an ICT pupil teacher at Betenase M/A Junior High School at Sekyedomase in the Ashanti Region, went viral on social media last month after he posted photos of himself improvising by drawing the entire Microsoft Word window on a blackboard to enable his pupil to understand how the software functions.
This got the attention of Microsoft and they promised to equip Owura Kwadwo’s school with a device and offer him the opportunity to undertake a free professional development program.
While most people are applauding Microsoft for the move, the former Vice President believes that the support is not one beyond the government, and proposed that the government provides the school with four computers.
He said, “I saw last week that there is a very creative teacher who had drawn the window [of MS Word] and was showing how a computer looks like. I heard that Microsoft has offered to provide him with a computer and so on… So culturally what are we saying, we accept it. ‘Ghana Beyond Aid, but we are accepting a Microsoft computer. There are many ways we should be able to say that no, this one is too small, that we are able to do it ourselves.”
“We [can] give the school some four computers….One for the teacher and for the children to also learn… But we accept the thing from Microsoft, but we are also going through the period of Ghana Beyond Aid, so when is aid not aid?,” he added.
While calling on the government to come clean on ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ concept, Amissah-Arthur said the government must provide timelines for the achievement of the agenda to make it measurable.
“It is good to have a policy, but you must also have a time-frame. That after 10 years, even if someone offers to pay for AIDS medicine, because we don’t have money, we will reject it because we have to pay on our own,” he said.
Ghana Beyond Aid: ‘We won’t say no to gifts’
But a Deputy Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said that the concept of ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ is beyond any government program hence cannot be titimed.
He described it as a paradigm and an approach the government seeks to have imbibed in Ghanaians, especially those holding public office, to ensure that they work primarily towards mobilizing local resources for the country’s development needs and not be expectant of foreign support.