The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, has revealed that the quest of her Ministry to develop community Information and Communications Technology (ICT) centres and cell sites across the country would ensure that most Ghanaians have access to mobile networks.
She was speaking at a ceremony to climax the National Girls in ICT programme on the Techiman Campus of the Valley View University in the Bono East Region recently.
According to her, research had revealed that there were about 3.5 million Ghanaians without mobile connectivity, and that by the end of next year, this group of people would heave a sigh of relief.
She explained that the establishment of more than 2,000 centres and sites was 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,” she said.
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.
The Deputy Minister for Education in charge of TVET, Gifty Twum Ampofo on her part 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, adding: “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 out of their training and the president’s Free Senior High School programme.