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Government to equip youth with ICT skills – Minister

By Iddi
Yire, GNA

Accra, July 27, GNA – The government will
empower the youth with information and communications technology (ICT) skills
to enable them 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 in
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 provides 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 develop such
initiative. I am convinced that access to devices and skills will enable them
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
concern.

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 address the challenges,” he said.

He was 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.

GNA

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