Government to equip youth with ICT skills – Minister

General News of Friday, 28 July 2017

Source: GNA

2017-07-28

Ursula ICTUrsula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications

The government will empower the youth with information and communications technology (ICT) skills to enable them to contribute towards the nation’s rapid technological progress and productivity, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications has said.

She hinted that government would soon introduce coding classes for young people, as part of its commitment to creating a digital literate community.

Coding is a set of instructions or rules that computers can understand; it might be helpful to think of code as a recipe.

She said to become active players who can compete in today’s digital world there is a need to equip them with the requisite skills and training and as well expose them to devices.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful made this known remarks during a breakfast session with the Heads of Information Technology (IT) and Chief Technical Officers of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) on the various products and services that the National Information Technology Agency’s (NITA) customers provide for its clients.

The breakfast session, which aimed at projecting NITA as an institution, offered participants from the public sector, the opportunity to better understand the new direction of government with respect to the adoption of ICT.

The Minister recounted that last week, during an open data conference organised by NITA, a group of talented young people developed a game which was geared towards reducing the litter in public spaces; particularly in schools.

She was of the view that if young people had seen sanitation and environmental cleanliness as a problem to the extent of developing a game, which would encourage people to play and learn how not to litter; then such people had a lot to offer when given the opportunity.

“These are nine to 10 year old not from first class schools, but public institutions who have been given access to coding instructions and were able to develop such initiative. I am convinced that access to devices and skills will enable them to do more wonderful things,” she added.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful again noted that her Ministry had got keen interest in supporting girls, so far as ICT development was concerned.

She said the Ministry’s ‘Girl in ICT’ project, however, specifically aims at identifying girls with potentials and giving them exposure to all things digital including devices and as well encouraging them to learn and explore.

It is important to note that we do not let girls feel some professions and spaces are reserved for men only,” she said.

“Once given the opportunity, access and training I am absolutely certain that they can perform as well or even better than their male counterparts,” she added.

She said there were a number of initiatives happening, as the Ministry was working on implementing all IT projects with the public service and MDAs.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said NITA needed to be equipped to enable it deliver on its mandate.

NITA an IT public service institution established by Act 771 in 2008 as the ICT policy implementing arm of the Ministry of Communications.

It is the agency responsible for implementing Ghana’s IT policies.

Mr Jeffery Konadu Addo, Acting Director General of NITA, said most of the IT guys within the public sector were not placed in a proper salary structure.

He described the IT industry as very expensive and competitive and that IT experts were in high demand and so if an individual was not properly paid well in the public sector they were likely to leave easily.

“Due to this development, we don’t get highly qualified people to work in some government agencies, and NITA is concerned and committed to addressing the challenges,” he said.

He said plans were underway to convert NITA into an Authority to make it more autonomous; adding that to expand its activities across the country, the Agency would soon establish its districts and regional offices.

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