The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, gave her keynote address to climax the National Girls in ICT programme, on the Techiman Campus of the Valley View University in the Bono East Region. In her address, she said,
“The quest of the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation to develop community ICT centres and cell sites across the country will ensure that most Ghanaians will have access to mobile networks. According to research, there are about 3.5 million Ghanaians without mobile connectivity. By the end of next year, this group of people will heave a sigh of relief”.
She explained that, the establishment of more than two thousand centres and sites is in progress and on track to make this a reality.
“We have made it our focus to construct ICT centres and rural telephony sites across the country to aid in the teaching and learning of ICT courses for our girls and the youth in general. This will provide an opportunity for girls and young women in the country to gain knowledge and exposure to technology. As previously mentioned, the theme for this year is, ‘Access and Safety’. To address the access issue in Ghana, the Ministry through GIFEC, is implementing our Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion Project, which forecasts the construction of more than two thousand sites for connectivity nationwide. Since 2020, over seven hundred sites have already been built and many communities have been connected. By the end of next year, all sites would have been completed”.
Since the beginning of the girls in ICT programme in 2012, this is the first time that five regions are celebrating the programme separately within a year. A development the minister describes as exceptional. One hundred girls from all the eleven districts in the Bono East Region, received laptop rewards while others received cash awards and some incentives for their schools including coding clubs, fully furnished ICT laboratories among others. She urged the Regional Coordinating Council to take ownership of the facilities and ensure their proper maintenance. Some best performing teachers and regional officers also received laptop rewards for their efforts.
The Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, Eric Mensah Bonsu re-emphasized the importance of technology in the economy and urged the beneficiaries to be empowered by their training.
Afua Brown-Eyeson went through some sections of the Cyber security Act, Act 2020, with the children. She entreated them to stay away from unfriendly people on the internet, so that they will not become victims of their demands.
The Deputy Minister for Education in charge of TVET, Gifty Twum Ampofo, encouraged the participants to study hard and take advantage of some government initiatives like the Free Senior High School Initiative. She also emphasized on the need to study beyond the classroom to enrich their minds and develop a global perspective. “The world is becoming a global village” she mentioned, “One needs to make use of technology to make progress”. She encouraged the girls to take research seriously, both in and out of school. She also admonished them to make the most of their training and the president’s Free Senior High School programme.
At the event, ccertificates were also presented to all one thousand beneficiaries from the region. Madam Ursula Owusu-Ekuful together with the Bono East Regional Minister Kwasi Adu Gyan announced the Bono Regional Representatives as the next host of the Girls in ICT programme. The programme is expected to begin in a few days.