The Minister for Communications and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has disclosed that about 8,000 girls have so far been trained in basic computer skills among other programmings to offer them the opportunity to explore the world of technology.
According to her, this forms part of a deliberate step to change the status quo that makes women and girls lag behind and unable to participate in the digital space despite forming more than half of the Ghanaian population.
In a speech she delivered at the climax of the 2021 Girls-In-ICT celebration on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, at the Gambaga Girls SHS in the North East Region, the Minister indicated that the initiative provides an opportunity to empower Ghana’s young girls with innovative skills and capacities to enable them fully participate in Ghana’s development process.
She disclosed that this year’s Girls-In-ICT initiative was scaled up to include cybersecurity training for girls in SHS and young ladies in tertiary institutions.
“60,000 girls were trained in Child Online Protection, cyberstalking, sextortion, and cyberbullying in the Ashanti, Central and Eastern Regions this October,” the Minister said.
“The tertiary version, Ladies in ICT, also took place just last month at the Kofi Annan Center of Excellence in ICT (KACE), with the selection and training of 50 female students from the University Students Association of Ghana in specialized areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Cloud Storage, Cyber Security, Internet of Things and Data Storage,” she disclosed.
The Ministry for Communications, she said, intends to do more in the coming years to ensure that the youth have the right skills, attitudes and relevant ICT infrastructure to participate in the digital space.
She disclosed that the Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and with the support of the World Bank will be equipping 300 SHS across the country with 40-seater labs to institutionalize the teaching and learning of ICT.
Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful explained that one of the key lessons that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world is the significant role of ICT in the survival of every country.
She averred that the government has learned the need to increase efforts in ensuring that every Ghanaian in every corner of the country are introduced into the ever-evolving ICT world especially with the growing disparity in work and wages women experience in the digital space.
According to her, these issues are of concern to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who is determined to change the paradigm by directing all Ministers to work to reduce the gender disparities in all sectors.
“It is for this reason that my Ministry has made Girls-In-ICT our flagship project and I believe women can perform above and beyond expectations in any sphere of human endeavour if given the right opportunities,” she added.