Ursula urges girls to acquire vital ICT skills

BY: Kweku Zurek
Ursula urges girls to acquire vital ICT skills
Ursula urges girls to acquire vital ICT skills

The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has reiterated the government's commitment to promoting ICT education for girls across the country.

This according to the Minister is to ensure that girls acquire skills that will contribute to their success in a "new economy" that demands the use of technology in trade and business activities to make a good living.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful made this known in an address to female students participating in the Bono Regional Girls in ICT initiative.

One thousand girls are benefiting from the Bono region’s programme which is part of the quest by the government to bridge the gender gap in technology with support from the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication, GIFEC.

“The direction in which the world is moving demands the use of ICT, whatever you want to do, even as a farmer or trader, ICT education is very important. ICT has become an enabler in the new economy and the government is bent on exposing you girls and other young ones to the new trend” she said.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful challenged the students participating in the regional Girls in ICT programme to take advantage of the initiative to excel in the field of ICT and Science.

“It’s a privilege and an opportunity some have been fighting for but haven’t gotten so if you have it, make the best use of it now".

She advised the students to work hard because, "hard-work doesn’t kill but will rather make you adept in whatever you do". You are an Apple of God’s eye, God created you well therefore women are very important. We are perfection of creation so try to reinforce yourself with a positive image as a perfect creation of God and never be discouraged”.

The Minister used the theme for this year; Access and Safety to inform the girls about the risk of abusing the internet.

Selected Schools from all the 12 districts in the region participated in the mentorship programme with support from the regional education service.

Some teachers from the various districts were also trained as part of the initiative to impart the knowledge to other students that may not get the opportunity to participate.

The Chairperson of the Mentorship programme, Dr. Seyram Blossom Setufe, Acting Head, Department of Fisheries and Water Resources, School of Natural Resources boosted the morale of the girls and urged them to become scientists and IT experts in the future.

“I will like you to pay attention, take note and develop interest in the field of engineering. Let your ears be open for the reason we are here and have that character and mindset that you can do it as an IT specialist or engineer” she advised.

She challenged the girls to stay focused and develop an interest in ICT subjects.

There was training in coding which gave the girls the opportunity to explore the world of technology, through the creation of websites, computer games, interactive arts, mobile apps, and animation stories, using various programming languages.

Dr. Mercy Badu from the Department of Chemistry at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology exposed the girls to some tips that will support their learning process in the field of Science and ICT.

Other mentors at the programme included, Juanita Ahia Quarcoo, Lecturer at the Department of Computer Science, Sunyani Technical University, Faiza Umar Bawah, Lecturer Department of Science and Informatics, University of Energy and Natural Resources.

Female Engineers from MTN were given the platform to share some experiences with the girls as well.

The Mentorship Day event is part of the Girls in ICT Initiative aimed at given the girls the opportunity to interact with ladies in the field of ICT and Science education.

As part of strategies to both ensure that Ghana achieves the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, and Ghana’s ICT4AD Policy on bridging the gender digital divide, the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation, through its agencies – GIFEC, NCA and the Kofi Annan ICT Centre of Excellence, has expanded the scope of the GIICT event.

Interestingly, over 60 per cent of the girls trained, have no prior knowledge or experience in the use of computers.

The Girls in ICT programme was introduced in 2012 by the International Telecommunications Union to empower and encourage girls and young women to acquire digital skills and consider studies and careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies.

Ghana has adopted this initiative and observed it on a regional basis. It has already been celebrated in Greater Accra, Ashanti, Northern, Volta, Western, Western North, North East, Central and Oti Regions.