The Minister for Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has encouraged girls in Ghana’s basic schools to be passionate and take advantage of the opportunities that the Information, Communications and technology (ICT) world offers people globally.
She argued that, with the desire and determination, young girls in Ghana can hive opportunities in ICT and even create jobs for themselves, provided they remain focused in their studies.
“There are huge opportunities and even those who are already employed are upgrading themselves. There are opportunities Africa can take advantage of and feed the rest of the world with the skills because we have a youthful population under 45 years. Very soon, the world will rely on Africa for employment and with the necessary skills, we can do it.” Mrs Owusu-Ekuful added.
She said this yesterday at the opening of a mentorship workshop as part of the Second National Girls in ICT Day themed ‘Expand horizons, change attitudes’, organised by the Ministry of Communications together with the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), with support from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Western Regional Coordinating Council (RCCC) in Takoradi.
Saying that, people believed that, there were no jobs, but today, she reported that there are vacancies to be filled in the ICT sector, adding that, women could change the statistics with ICT.
The Minister told the participants that, the sad aspect of the Ghanaian narrative was that, girls shied away from Information and Communications technology (ICT), mathematics and hard core engineering courses because they thought they could not do it, but she believed that this attitude could be changed, and stressed “you can do it if you put it in your mind to it; its just about the desire.”.
She also noted that although, women constituted about 51 percent of Ghana’s population, men today formed about 80 percent in ICT world with only 20 percent of women in the sector, saying that “you and I can change the stories of ICT with the strategies and systematic approach to energise the ICT sector.”
“She said: ‘The theme is not just by accident. We need to expand the horizon and change our attitudes and say that now, we are going to do it and we can do it because there are no barriers to any human endeavour. All of us including the mentors were like you, I sold charcoal. Today, we can take advantage of the opportunities through education.”
She continued: Don’t think that there is anything beyond your capabilities. If you decide… and I hope you have decided to work in ICT, it’s not only exciting, but also the sustainable way to get a future with technology. This is not an Ananse story.”
So far, she reported that, about 4,000 girls had benefitted from the programme which had travelled to Greater Accra, Ashanti, Bono and Ahafo and Western regions. Adding that, Daniella Afriyie Asare from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), was a finalist in the Miss Geek Contest held in Rwanda.
She announced that, the Miss Geek contest would be held in Ghana, this year.
Miss Geek Africa is an entrepreneurship competition that originated as Miss Geek Rwanda in 2014 but was renamed Miss Geek Africa in 2017 and has expanded to 22 countries in Africa.
Girls and women between the ages of 13 and 25 submit apps that solve problems through technological innovations. And the top three competitors receive cash prizes and business training, and the winner also receives financial backing.
Mrs Owusu–Ekuful, said, the ministry together with the Ministry of Education would provide ICT labs for schools in Ghana.
“The ICT sector is vibrant, exciting and booming. Don’t lose focus; there are more opportunities. Stand on the shoulders of the mentors today so that you can see afar and achieve more than they have been able to do. Just develop the passion and excel, and you can do it.” She again assured the girls.
The Metropolitan Education Director of Sekondi–Takoradi, Rev Mrs Elizabeth Akuoko, was happy about the programme which she also believed would promote the teaching and learning of ICT and also create more and varied opportunities for girls in the technologically changing world.
ICT, she added, was the key driver of development world wide and also for women empowerment and economic development including every aspect of human life.
Mrs Akuoko, advised the participants to take their studies seriously and excel in their studies.