COVID-19: Scrap CST To Aid Virtual Learning – Child Online Africa
Child Online Africa (COA) has called for the elimination of Communication Service Tax (CST) to aid online studies due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Based on COA, the CST is not an incentive to the ‘online classrooms’ initiative.
COA said in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Madam Awo Aidam Amenyah, “We, therefore, urge the responsible sector ministries to immediately put on hold any further deductions of the CST to ease the cost of Internet Services in Ghana.”
It noted with concern the framework issued by the Ministry of Education on Tuesday, March 25, 2020, in furtherance to the President’s directive to dismiss all school children in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It stated, “We fully concur with government’s decision to leverage the internet and Mass Media (Radio/TV) by rolling out Virtual classrooms on these platforms to aid children at home to study their course contents online.”
It added, “We also acknowledge the effort of the Sector Minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh who has announced some strategic partnerships with Service providers, CSO’s and Media Organizations to create the virtual study platforms.”
Again, the statement revealed, “Projections from Child Online Africa indicates that school children would have to spend more time on the internet in order to stay in ‘school’.”
Furthermore, it stressed, “This situation will result in more spending on data charges which is likely to create a situation where some parents will discourage their wards from staying online in order to reduce cost while an appeal to all Telecommunication operators to reduce or even impose a zero rate on educational content is in order.”
In conclusion, the statement emphasized, “Given that the government of Ghana is enjoined by the constitution to remove all barriers to education, COA in the wake of this Pandemic sees government’s Communication Service Tax as a disincentive to the ‘online classrooms’ initiative.”