Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has disclosed that government would begin the roll-out of free Wifi for Senior High Schools (SHSs) in October, this year.
She said despite the shutdown of schools due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, it was important that the country prepares for the future.
“It is important that we extend connectivity to every part of the country hence the implementation of the ‘enhanced rural telephony project’ which will bring networks to unserved and underserved parts of the country, where there are network problems.”
The minister was speaking at the climax of the 10th Edition of National Girls in ICT Day held in the Nkwanta South Municipality of the Oti Region.
The celebration was instituted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to encourage girls to adopt and participate in technology.
According to her, the Girls in ICT initiative had trained 584 girls from eight Districts in the Oti Region.
Cumulatively, about 6,604 girls were trained in basic computer literacy skills and coding.
“We cannot leave any Ghanaian child behind and we must strive to give every child; male and female, the opportunity to succeed in life. When it comes to technology, the thinking is that it is not a girl’s thing, we are here to tell the world it is a girl’s thing.”
Madam Ekuful said the celebration was made biennial instead of the annual training, while mentorship workshops and an ‘open day’ experience was included to enable best performing girls to spend days with women working in technology-related disciplines.
She said there were many Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related job opportunities in the areas of health, law, accounting, teaching and education hence the need for participants to take their studies seriously.
“There is nothing you cannot do if you put your mind to it. It is not impossible, just dream, think, believe and work hard at it, seek help, find out how and you just get on with it,” she said.
She also called on the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) and the teachers they had trained to establish coding clubs in all the participating schools in the Region to sustain the interest of the girls, and to enable them to introduce their mates to the initiative.
The Girls in ICT initiative is one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry of Communications and in line with the International Girls in ICT Day, an initiative backed by all ITU Member States.
It also aims at encouraging and empowering girls and young women to consider studies and careers in the growing field of ICTs, enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector.
The Minister said the schools from which the top ten emerging girls came from in the Region would have their ICT laboratories upgraded to support the learning of the subject.
“We will continue to whip up the interest of our daughters to enable them to acquire the relevant skills that are needed to enhance their opportunity as they develop their careers in the industry to make them competitive.
“We want you to be interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and careers. We want to demystify ICT and narrow the gender digital divide.”
GIFEC administrator, Abraham Kofi Asante, said mechanisms were in place to check the beneficiaries and also to help them train their colleagues.
According to him zonal centres were established to help the beneficiaries deal with problems to ensure continuous progress of the initiative.
Ten beneficiaries were from Biakoye, eight from Nkwanta South, eight from Krachi East, eight from Krachi Nchumuru, seven from SALL, seven from Krachi West, three from Jasikan, and two from Nkwanta North District of the Oti Region.
Paramount Queen of Adele Traditional Area, Nkwanta, Nana Asete Dakoa II, noted that ‘the creation of the Oti Region had brought a lot of benefits to the citizenry especially in areas of education.’
She called for government support to enable most girls in the Region to get enrolled in schools.
Nana Asete Dakoa admonished the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunities given them to the benefit of their colleagues and communities.
The beneficiaries were also engaged through a virtual mentorship session where they shared and received messages related to ICT, the internet and available job opportunities in the sector.