Huawei partners ministry to train female students in ICT

BY: Doreen Andoh & Rejoice Lavinia Eklu
Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful (left),  and Ms Ama Pomaa Boateng (right), Minister and Deputy Minister of Communications and Digitalisation respectively, interacting with some participants after the opening ceremony. Picture: ESTHER ADJEI
Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful (left), and Ms Ama Pomaa Boateng (right), Minister and Deputy Minister of Communications and Digitalisation respectively, interacting with some participants after the opening ceremony. Picture: ESTHER ADJEI

The Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation, in partnership with Huawei, is building the capacity of 50 tertiary students in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

The 10-day programme is being organised under one of the ministry's flagship programme known as “Women/ Girls in ICT.

The capacity building is focusing on artificial intelligence among other emerging ICT areas.

The beneficiaries would also be taken through career guidance sessions.

Speaking at the opening ceremony in Accra yesterday, the sector Minister, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, said nothing could be done efficiently without ICT  which informed the decision to initiate the programme as part of bridging the national digital divide to enhance socio-economic development and women empowerment.

ICT

She said ICT today was promoting so many livelihood and many development agenda and so it was critical for the country and Africa to keep abreast of changing trends in ICT so as not to become just a consumer.

The minister said one of the best ways of doing that was exposing the younger generation, particularly girls to ICT.

"So, it's incumbent on us to give you this exposure. Is a seed we are sowing you, which will become a big tree under which people can benefit," she said.

She encouraged the ladies not to be deterred by the challenges as they pursue opportunities in ICT but rather focus on the numerous benefits afterwards which included job and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful expressed gratitude to Huawei for the support.

“As you may know, the world has transitioned from manual systems to digital systems to enhance efficiency, transparency, accountability, ease of doing business and educating ourselves just to mention a few.

Communication

“The way we used to communicate has greatly transformed. Social media platforms and the availability of the internet have made communication much easier and relatively affordable.

“Today, our mobile phones have become a working tool in our hands. It is very difficult to live without them. This means that we need to empower Ghanaians, especially girls and young women to take up careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation (STEMI) fields,” she said.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the digital systems being implemented by the government required digital skilled manpower to operate and manage the systems for the benefit of the citizenry.

She said the capacity building workshop was ,therefore, one of the modules the ministry was introducing to the girls in ICT initiative and with the support of Huawei,it would be become an annual programme.

Women/Girls in ICT

In 2019, the Ministry of Communications launched the programme to develop the skills of girls and young women in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for national development.

Dubbed: ‘Ms Geek, Ghana’, the initiative seeks to support young females aged 13 and 25 years to develop innovative solutions to key national development challenges.

Apart from helping to bridge the gender gap in the digital space, the initiative also aims to demystify the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by motivating females to pursue careers in those fields.

Huawei support

The Director of Public Relations at Huawei Ghana Office, Ms Jennie Zhou said her outfit had realised the importance of technology in society, hence committed to training individuals to acquire the skills.

“The significance of technology cannot be underestimated given its positive impact on society,” she added, indicating that Huawei had set a target and committed to train 10,000 people in technology within the next three years.

She ,therefore, expressed joy that Huawei was partnering the ministry to implement the AI training initiative.

Embrace Opportunity

The Head of Tech and Product at Tarya Africa, Ms Anne Nutsuklo, advised women and girls not to assume that acquiring technology and digital skills was daunting.

She indicated that digital skills were not the preserved of students or graduates of particular academic programmes, adding that, “it does not matter whether you did sociology or agriculture, you can learn computer programming”.

The Director -General at the National Information Technology Agency, Mr Richard Okyere-Fosu, entreated the participants to make the best out of the training.

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