The Sixth National Girls-In-Information Communication Technology (ICT) Day celebration was held in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region, with a call on students, especially girls, to make efficient use of ICT instead of using such facilities to watch pornographic films and engaging in fraud and cyber-crimes.
The Girls-In-ICT Day celebration was instituted in 2011 by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to expose girls and young women to career opportunities in the ICT sector and to encourage them to embrace ICT and consider pursuing careers in ICT.
Held under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications, in collaboration with the Brong Ahafo Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), the 2017 National Girls-In-ICT forum was on the theme: “Demystifying ICT to empower Girls.”
The ceremony brought together over 100 senior high and junior high school students, including heads of institutions and chiefs from the 27 districts of the Brong-Ahafo Region.
Protecting children online
In a keynote address read on her behalf, the Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, revealed that a framework document had been developed to address and assist parents, teachers and adults to protect children online, and mentioned the development of awareness creation programme to enable children to appreciate the dangers associated with the indiscriminate use of online facilities and how to protect themselves from danger, as some of the activities to protect the children.
“We are aware of how the internet is being used to kidnap and sexually molest children and we do not want our children to fall to that threat,” she stated.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful noted that 100 girls out of the 500 girls trained would undergo further training in networking and participate in ICT clinic, as well as participate in programmes to expose them to ICT careers.
She pledged her ministry’s continual support to the ICT broadband infrastructure polices for special focuses on rural connectivity, and hinted that the ministry would introduce a digital entrepreneurship programme to expose the young women within the ages of 18 to 30 into entrepreneurship.
The minister pleaded with the chiefs and parents not to allow their culture to become a barrier to girls in contributing effectively to ICT and nation building.
She again appealed to private sector institutions to support in the implementation of the Girls-In-ICT initiative, for it to make a positive impact nationwide.
In an address read on his behalf by the Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Dr Evelyn Ama Kumi-Richardson, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, urged parents and guardians to continue working towards the academic progress of their children.
He also called on them to cultivate the habit of monitoring their children’s academic performance and supervise them to do their assignments, explaining that that was the surest way to help students to take their education serious.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh also advised the students to make good use of the opportunity provided to develop themselves and take their education seriously.
For her part, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Girls Coordinator, Ms Beatrice Nkum, challenged the girls to get great interest in the study of ICT.
She said the policy objectives of the revised draft of the gender in education policy emphasised increasing girl-child education participation and performance in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related course at all levels of the education sector.
Awards were presented to some of the deserving students, with the overall Regional Best ICT student’s award going to a students of Scared Heart JHS, Audrey Ayirwaa Barkoh, the second best went to Juliet Asiamah Yeboah of Krobo SDA JHS at Techiman North, while Nana Yaa Yeboah of Scared Heart JHS took the third position.