The Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu- Ekuful has encouraged girls in basic schools to be passionate and take advantage of opportunities that ICT offers people globally.
She argued that, with desire and determination, young girls in Ghana can use these opportunities to even create jobs for themselves, adding that there were vacancies to be filled in the ICT sector and women especially, could change the statistics in the area.
“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,” she said.
She made these remarks 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 suppots from the International Telecommunications Union(ITU), National Communications Authority (NCA )and the Western Regional Coordinating Council (RCCC) in Takoradi .
The Minister expressed concern about girls shielding away from courses such as ICT, Mathematics and Engineering, because they thought they could not do it, stressing: “you can do it if you put it in your mind to do it; it is 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 the field of ICT with only 20 percent of women.
“We need to expand the horizon and change our attitudes because there are no barriers to any human endeavour. All of us including the mentors were like you,” she added.
The minister also reported, that so far, about 4,000 girls have benefitted from the programme which implemented in the 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.
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 Applications that solve problems through technological innovations. The top three competitors receive cash prizes and business training, and the winner also receives financial backing. The Miss Geek contest would be held in Ghana this year.
The Metropolitan Education Director of Sekondi –Takoradi, Elizabeth Akuoko, was happy about the programme, which she also believed would promote the teaching and learning of ICT to create 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 fields.