Ghana: Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation Introduces Tertiary Girls-in-ICT

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Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation (MoCD) has introduced a new version of the Girls-in-ICT for Ladies in Tertiary Institutions. It was organised in partnership with Huawei Technologies, Ghana, S.A. Limited.

Participants, who were drawn from the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG) will be taken through a ten (10) day training programme in Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Security. It is under the theme “Connected Girls, Creating Brighter Futures”.

Fifty (50) students are participating in a residential training programme scheduled for 19th-28th September 2021 from 9:00 am to 4:00pm daily.

The Girls-in-ICT is an initiative of the International telecommunications Union (ITU), aimed at introducing young girls to basic ICT skills.

Training is being held amidst business competitions among various groups to select the most outstanding. Prizes will be awarded to deserving groups. The program will feature women in the ICT Industry.

In a speech to officially launch the program, the Deputy Minister for Communications, Ms Ama Pomaa Boateng said it is the goal of the Government to ensure that Girls and young women in Ghana are supported to participate fully in the digital journey of the country, adding, “there is a huge gender gap in the ICT ecosystem and we have made it a priority to close the gap”.

According to her since 2012 when the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), one of the United Nations specialized Agencies responsible for Telecom/ICTs mooted the idea and urged countries to celebrate the Girls in ICT Initiative, Ghana has been dedicated to the celebration.

“We just commemorated the Girls-In-ICT initiative in the Western North Region where One Thousand Girls ranging from upper primary to JHS 2 were trained in basic computer skills, coding etc. The girls who were not priviledged to touching a computer accepted the training with so much exuberance and demonstrated their competence during the competition. One hundred girls who came up tops in the competition were rewarded with laptops. Additionally, 20 out of the 100 girls will have computer labs built for their schools if they do not have any, but if they do, it will be refurbished. I am happy to say we are making a significant impact in the lives of Ghanaian girls and breaking the notion that ICT is a preserve for men” she revealed.

Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful in a short remark indicated that the world has transitioned from manual systems to digital systems to enhance efficiency, transparency, accountability, ease of doing business and educating ourselves. “ The way we used to communicate has greatly transformed. Social media platforms and the availability of the internet has made communication much easier and relatively affordable”.

She stressed the need to empower Ghanaians especially Girls and young women to take up careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation (STEMI) fields.

“The digital systems being implemented by Government requires digital skilled manpower to operate and manage the systems for the benefit of the citizenry. This workshop is one of the modules we are introducing to the Girls in ICT Initiative and with the support of Huawei will become an annual program. I am informed that the training will cover emerging topics such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, etc and Career Guidance and a Business Competition to crown it” she stated.

Minister encouraged participants to exhibit enthusiasm and commitment throughout the training period. “We are still battling with Covid-19 so observe the protocols”.

“I want to take the opportunity to thank our partners and sponsors, Huawei Technologies (Ghana) S.A. Limited for their commitment for the initiative and my Deputy Minister and the MoCD team for the effort put in to commence this module. I also want to commend the USAG women commissioner for their cooperation in the maiden event”.

She encouraged the ladies to focus on the training and the business competition and hoped that they become ambassadors to preach the ICT gospel to the younger ones in the primary and SHS schools.

The Director for Public and Government Affairs, Huawei Technologies, Jenny Zhou said “At Huawei, we believe that technology innovation can be led by women, and technology in its end can empower women. Huawei’s female employees have been playing a unique role and making important contributions to the company. Many of them have distinguished themselves and become outstanding leaders. In the digital era, the most important measure to bridge the digital gender gap is through education. Whether it is college education or social training, we need to give women more opportunities to participate in the digital profession”.

She encouraged the participants to pay attention to what will be taught during all the sessions so that at the end of the day they can all be leaders in Technology and Change-makers in their various communities to help contribute to a Digital economy.

In attendance were the Chief Director of MoCD, Mrs Magdalene Apenteng; Director Policy Planning Budget Monitoring and Evaluation (PPBME), Mrs Veronica Sackey, Deputy Director, NCA, Ms Olivia Okailey Quartey; Head of Kofi Annan ICT Center of Excellence, Dr Collins Yeboa-Afari; Administrator Gifec, Mr Prince Ofosu Sefa; Administrator NITA, Richard Edmund Okyere-Fosu; Staff of MoCD; Staff of the National Cyber Security Center; Staff of GIFEC; Staff of NITA; Staff of NCA.