Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications, has said achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 could not be possible if girls and women were left behind in the development agenda.
“Again, we cannot eradicate poverty, if issues of female inclusion are not addressed bearing in mind that the huge informal sector of the economy, which is about 70 per cent is dominated by women.
“It is for this and many reasons that make it crucial that we adopt a strategic and systematic approach to encourage more girls and women to acquire digital skills and to take up leadership roles in the industry. It is a shared responsibility.”
Mrs Ekuful was speaking at the climax of the 10th Edition of National Girls in ICT Day held in the Nkwanta South Municipality of the Oti Region.
She said “we must expand the horizons and change our attitudes” to ensure that the gender digital divide was bridged as fast as possible.
The Minister said a mentorship event was held to enable participants to interact with female achievers in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, with the belief that it would whip up their interest to pursue courses in ICT fields and choose courses in the industry.
“Today, everyone needs digital technology for whatever work they are doing and you will always have a job if you have the right skills for the new world of work that is rapidly unfolding before us if you have the digital skills.”
She disclosed that the ICT sector was the fastest growing globally, which permeated every area of the economy and touched every aspect of human life.
“It is clear that we cannot live without our gadgets, be it smart phones, tablets or computers and are indispensable.
“Several forms of private and public service are being digitised and we are living witnesses to the transformation technology wreaking in our societies today,” the Minister added.
She said although the demand for IT skills was increasing rapidly and the sector becoming the leading employment sector, inadequate trained personnel to operate the job openings in the sector was a huge skill gap and suggested the ‘call to action’ to put in place measures to promote interest and pursuit of ICT related careers among the youth.
Mrs Ekuful urged parents to support their children to benefit from the training given their wards such as creating websites for their businesses.
The Girls in ICT initiative had trained 584 girls from eight Districts in the Oti Region in coding, website creation, and computer literacy skills, out of which 60 excelled and were awarded.
Nana Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa, Oti Regional Minister said the training given the girls stood a better chance of advancing in the acquisition of the necessary skills and knowledge in ICT to enable them secure jobs in the future at the technologically inclined job market.
He noted that the girls demonstrated great interest in the programme and “it is hoped that it will goad them on to apply themselves to further studies in the area of ICT.”
The event organised by the Ministry of Communications in collaboration with other stakeholders including; the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) was on the theme, “Expand Horizons, Change Attitudes”
Dr Regina Gyampoh Vidogah, Director of ICT Services, Cape Coast University, urged the participants to make good use of the prizes they received while urging them not to underestimate themselves and what they were capable of doing and becoming in future.
Laptops and certificates were presented to the participants, while the top 10 received MTN TurboNets with a year subscription and the first three, received cheques and plaques.
Ten girl-child coordinators also received laptops with 54 teachers also awarded. Ms Ali Sadia, a 14-year-old pupil of Nuriya Islamic School, Jasikan received the overall award prize of a cheque of GH₵2,000.00.
She was grateful for the training given them while pledging to make good use of the items and also share her knowledge with her colleagues.
The baton was handed over to the Western North Region to begin the preparation of the next edition of the event in October, 2020 which will be the 11th Edition of Girls in ICT.