The American Tower Corporation (ATC) -Ghana has inaugurated two Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) centres at Asuom in the Eastern Region and Jamdede in the Berekum East Municipality in the Bono Region to enhance the study of ICT in the community last Monday (November 15).
The two facilities, dubbed ATC Digital ICT Learning Centres, have been established for the Asuom Presbyterian Basic School in the Kwaebibirem District in the Eastern Region and Jamdede Adom Basic School in the Berekum West District, were the first of their kind in their respective districts.
ATC, a leading owner and operator of communications sites for the wireless broadcast industries, initiated this project as part of their Digital Community currently ongoing in partnership with Africa ICT Right and Ghana Code Club.
This brings to six the number of ICT centres as similar facilities have been inaugurated in Savelugu, Tarkwa, Bawdua, Makola and Battor", with the aim to "provide ICT skills and entrepreneurial training to the youth to equip them with the right skill-sets to broaden their career prospects in an increasingly connected and interconnected world, either by increasing their employability or though entrepreneurship."
Each Centre has 12 computers, a 32-inch television screen, CCTV camera. ATC Ghana will provide internet to the centres as well as take care of the provision of a stable electricity supply, including backup power supply from ATC's tower site, a UPS.
ATC Ghana will commission two Akontonbra in the Western North Region and Bawku in the Upper East Region, before the end of the year.
Globally, ATC Ghana's parent company, American Tower Corporation, has built approximately 300 DCs in Africa, Asia and Latin America and plans to build around 5000 more DCs globally in the next five years with the support of strategic partners.
ATC Ghana works with strategic partners such as Africa ICT Right and Ghana Code to provide IT skills to the students and the communities.
Speaking during the inauguration of the digital facility at Asuom, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ATC Ghana Limited, Mr Yahaya Yunusa, said the project was a step in the right direction to create a digitally empowered community.
“Through our Digital Communities, which is our flagship digital inclusion programme, we are deploying fully equipped ICT Education Centres throughout Ghana to create digitally empowered communities where users can learn without barriers,” he said.
Mr Yunusa expressed pride that the ATC, the leading and largest tower company in Ghana, with over 3,900 communications sites across the country, was playing a role in making sure the government's vision for an inclusive digital economy; adding that the projects were in line with the government's vision to digitalise every aspect of the economy under its Digital Ghana Agenda.
The Kwaebibiriem District Chief Executive, Seth Antwi-Boasiako, and the Nifahene of Asu (DCE)om, Nana Ohemeng Nimako, expressed gratitude to ATC and the Ministry of Communication for the project which has eluded the community, especially the schools, for several decades
The DCE appealed to the District Education Directorate and the school’s authority to observe a proper maintenance culture for the facility to serve the community and its purpose for a very long time.
Inauguration at Berekum
Addressing the gathering during the launch at Jamdede Adom Basic School, the CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunication, Dr Kenneth Ashigbey, lauded the Digital Community project across the country, indicating that the importance of ICT could not be over emphasised.
"It is a fact that if we are going to bridge the gap that is between us and the developed world, then we will have to take advantage of the fourth industrial revolution, and so, it is really important that we take ICT as close as possible to our people," he said.
Dr Ashigbey said the ATC Ghana, a member of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, had through the "Digital Communities" set a pace in providing digital infrastructure to rural communities across Ghana.
He urged the pupils present at the inauguration to take Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education seriously and leverage on it to solve societal problems rather than using them for fraudulent activities.