The government is exploring the mainstreaming of robotics and coding into the educational curriculum of young children.
The initiative, which is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Communication and Digitalisation and the Ministry of Education, seeks to afford children the skills for valuable problem-solving, boost creativity and grow a genuine interest in how the world works.
Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, said this in Accra when officials of MTN, a telecommunication company presented a cheque for GHS 10 million to support the Girls in Information Communication Technology (GICT) programme over a three-year period as part of the company’s 25th Anniversary celebration.
The Girls-in-ICT initiative seeks to increase the number of girls studying ICT at all levels of the education system.
The Minister stated that introducing young children to such a programme at an early stage would help them discover their unique talents, build teamwork and communication skills.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful averred that the children in ICT initiative was the next to be rolled-out after the GICT, explaining that there was ready market for students and graduates in ICT related programmes hence the need to offer young people that platform.
Sharing her impression on the GICT, she expressed satisfaction at the gains made through the initiative, noting that it was her dream to expand to benefit many girls.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful stated that the country could achieve Sustainable Development Goals (1, 5 and 10) aimed at reducing poverty, achieving gender equality and reducing inequalities if there was no conscious and deliberate approach to encourage more girls and women to take up leadership roles in the ICT industry.
The Minister said this year’s GICT programme had been enhanced by the introduction of mentorship where the girls got the opportunity to be coached by women who were actively working in the ICT space, including Madam Patricia Obo-Nai, Chief Executive Officer, Vodafone Ghana, and Madam Regina Honu née Agyare, a software developer and founder of Soronko Solutions.
Mr Samuel Koranteng, Chief Corporate services Officer, MTN, said the company was pleased to support the Government’s efforts to address the female participation gap within the Ghanaian ICT sector.
He noted that the company was a signatory to the United Nations Women Empowerment Principles, which encouraged the company to advance the cause of Gender Equality and the Women Empowerment.
“Our core belief as a business is that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected life. We therefore strive to ensure that men and women benefit equally from ICT,” he said.
“Gender Empowerment is a key strategic component of MTN’s Corporate Social Investment and over the years we have made significant contributions in this regard. We however do not wait until precocious young girls become seasoned women professionals before taking an interest in them. Our contributions start from the grassroots level”.
Ghana joined the International Telecommunication Union Girls-In-ICT initiative to implement activities to bridge the digital gender divide, and encourage the training and education of girls to expand the opportunities available to the girl-child and women in the sector.