The Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Communications and Digitalization is bridging the digital divide by equipping 305 ICT laboratories in senior secondary schools around the nation with ICT resources through the e-Transform Project.
The schools are receiving furniture, servers, UPs, and computers.
The sector minister paid a working visit to the Girls-In-ICT Training Centres in Tamale, Northern Region, to assess and inspect the training processes of the ongoing Girls-in-ICT project in the Region.
The centers visited include; Tamale CIC Centre, Sagnarigu Community Information Center and Jisonaa Yili Junior High School.
The sector minister said, the initiative forms part of a global effort by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to bridge the gender gap in the technology industry. In Ghana, “Girls in ICT” refers to the initiative that is aimed at encouraging and empowering young girls and women to pursue careers in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful also mentioned, Ghana has since 2017 adopted the Girls-In-ICT initiative as a platform to equip girls between the ages of 9 and 15 years (Upper Primary to Junior High School) with knowledge and skills in basic ICT and Coding.
At a courtesy call at the Northern Regional Minister at the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said this year’s programme started in the Savannah Region where 100 teachers had been trained in ICT who also trained the 1,000 girls at the various selected schools.
She indicated that the same process would be replicated in the Northern Region, noting, that the training of the girls in the ICT project started on Monday 17th July and was expected to end on Saturday 29th July 2023 where the best girls would be selected and awarded for their outstanding performance after their examination.
She also disclosed that the best 100 girls would receive recognition in the form of their own laptops, Computer Labs for the schools of the first ten outstanding girls as well certificate of participation in the Girls-In-ICT Programme.
Mrs. Ursula Owusu Ekuful said she was impressed with the quality of training delivered, stating that her interaction with the girls shows that they haven’t touched laptop before but because of the project, they have been exposed.
She therefore encouraged the girls to take the training seriously because every aspect of life needs an expert in IT, be it farming, teaching, doctors and more.
The Minister also explained that her visit has revealed that, students under the project are able to create their own games, websites and word document which is an indication of improvement which is showing that they are achieving the theme of the year’s celebration which is “Digital skills for life” which is celebrated globally to mark Girls-in-ICT day.
The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation further disclosed that, the reason for focusing on girls is to narrow the gender digital divide as it is just a few numbers of girls that have computer skills.
As part of motivating and encouraging girls to go into ICT, the sector minister hinted that the Mentorship section which was scheduled on Monday, 31st Jul, would bring experts in ICT to speak to the students to improve their interest as part of their mentorship programme for the girls to encourage them to see the importance of ICT in the utilization in the world of work.
Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful used the occasion to also interact, encourage and motivate the girls at the various centres and also gave opportunity to the beneficiaries to ask questions in relation to building their careers in the ICT space.
Some of the girls demonstrated their projects work (website, game apps) for the Minister to appreciate the impacts of the Training.
The Minister also visited Tamale CIC, Sagnarigu CIC, and Jisonaa Yili JHS training centres.
“I think we stand a better chance of producing more and more technology-focused young women if we better understood the role of technology and the opportunities therein and found a better way to communicate it to our young girls, while at the same time showcasing female role models in the field” Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful told the girls.
On his part, Alhaji Shani Alhassan Shaibu, Northern Regional Minister, appealed for the sustainability of the Girls in ICT program.
“The fact that you are encouraging girls to pursue excites me. I am enthusiastic about anything that supports girls because they are stigmatized in every part of their lives. To reach many young girls, the project must be expanded and sustained. Although training 1000 females each region is fantastic, we can do more. There are quite a significant number of girls who would have wished to be selected but missed out” he said.