Gov’t poised to provide widespread practical ICT education- Dep Edu. Minister

practical ICT education
Dep. Education Minister, Rev. Ntim Fordjour

The Deputy Minister of Education (MoE), Rev. John Ntim Fordjour, has stated that government is poised to provide widespread practical Information and Communication Technology (ICT) education to students in all basic schools across the country.

According to the deputy minister, government is determined to ensure that the times when teachers have to write or sketch parts of a computer on the blackboard for teaching are over, and various interventions are underway to achieve this agenda.

In an interview with the B&FT, Rev. Fordjour underscored the need for concerted efforts to develop and ensure access to digital literacy and skills among children at an early stage to nurture innovative solution providers capable of using technology, which is the new normal, to solve socio-economic problems in the country, adding that the ministry will continuously collaborate with the private sector to achieve this objective.

He mentioned interventions designed for this government policy position such as the establishment of some Science, Technical, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) schools across the country, girls in ICT initiative, one teacher one laptop initiative, etc.

In addition to that, he emphasised some important collaborations the MoE entered with the private sector to expand ICT access such as the one with Huawei Ghana to rollout ICT infrastructure in public schools to ensure that every child in school gets competitive ICT skills that will make them competent in competing with any other person in any part of the world for equal opportunities; as well as the Israeli Embassy in Ghana.

“The way that ICT and digitisation have become front and centre of the world today means that for anyone to be able to make an impact in the fourth industrial revolution era (4IR), the person needs digital literacy and skills.

“We do not just want ICT to become a course where students will sit and be lectured with theories and images of parts of the computer. It must become a skill for them and every learner in the public sector must have access from the lowest level to the top. So, we want ICT to become a core part of the skills that are being imparted to the kids in school,” he said.

This interview came on the back of Huawei’s ICT job fair and LEAP programme launch, which seeks to train students and instructors in tertiary institutions in ICT and digitalisation, equip them with relevant tools and provide jobs with a total reach and impact estimated to be about 100,000.

A research report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) posited that in the next 30 years many more people are going to have formal education than ever before in the history of mankind.

Notwithstanding, the Education Commission’s (EC) report in 2020 indicated that if nothing changes by 2030, some 825million young people – which is approximately half the global youthful population – will reach adulthood without the skills needed to thrive in today’s world though they have formal education.

The skills needed to thrive in today’s world of business, be it medicine, agriculture, accounting, banking, marketing, or entrepreneurship, among all other facets of life as indicated by the report, is ICT or digitization, and every employer who wants to employ now is looking for that skill, hence, the MoE’s keen interest in ensuring that every child receives the skills in ICT.

The minister stressed that the pace at which the ministry is embarking on the ICT infrastructure development at the basic level is very encouraging, and very soon every child will begin to receive the relevant digital skills that will be relevant to their employability.

Attesting to how globalisation and rapid technological advancement have created a new economy, which is driven by knowledge, with ICT becoming undoubtedly the critical enabler of a knowledge-based economy for many nations, he reiterated government’s desire that through the deployment of ICT in education, the culture and practice of traditional memory-based learning will be transformed into education that stimulates critical thinking, creativity, and innovation.

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