Ghana rolls-out free wifi for secondary schools
London, Sep. 17, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Ghana is to begin the rollout of the free Wifi for Senior High Schools (SHSs) in October, this year according to the Minister for Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful
Unfortunately, the much publicised free wifi programme is commencing amidst announcement by the statistics office on Wednesday that Ghana’s economy contracted for the first time in almost four decades in the second quarter, by an annual 3.2%, occasioned by the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic
The gold-, oil-, and cocoa-producing West African nation imposed a three-week lockdown at the start of the pandemic in March, leading to the shutdown of numerous businesses
“Even after the restrictions have been lifted, many businesses across sectors have continued to close down
Mrs Ekuful who announced the free wifi was speaking at the climax of the 10th Edition of National Girls in ICT Day held in the Nkwanta South Municipality of the Oti Region.
The minister said the shutdown of schools due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic was an opportunity for the government to install the necessary infrastructure for the effective take-off of the programme
“It is important that we extend connectivity to every part of the country hence the implementation of the ‘enhanced rural telephony project’ which will bring networks to unserved and underserved parts of the country, where there are network problems.
National Girls in ICT Day is instituted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to encourage girls to adopt and participate in technology.
She said the Girls in ICT initiative in Ghana had trained 584 girls from eight Districts in the Oti Region. Cumulatively, about 6,604 girls were trained in basic computer literacy skills and coding.
“We cannot leave any Ghanaian child behind and we must strive to give every child; male and female, the opportunity to succeed in life. When it comes to technology, the thinking is that it is not a girl’s thing, we are here to tell the world it is a girl’s thing.”
The Minister said the celebration was made biennial instead of the annual training, while mentorship workshops and an ‘open day’ experience was included to enable best performing girls to spend days with women working in technology-related disciplines.
She said there were many Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related job opportunities in areas of health, law, accounting, teaching and education hence the need for participants to take their studies seriously.
“There is nothing you cannot do if you put your mind to it. It is not impossible, just dream, think, believe and work hard at it, seek help, find out how and you just get on with it,” she said.
Mrs Ekuful called on the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) and teachers they had trained to establish coding clubs in all the participating schools in the Region to sustain the interest of the girls and to enable them to introduce their mates to the initiative.
The Girls in ICT initiative is one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry of Communications and in line with the International Girls in ICT Day, an initiative backed by all ITU Member States.
It also aims at encouraging and empowering girls and young women to consider studies and careers in the growing field of ICTs, enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector.
The Minister said the schools from which the top ten emerging girls came from in the Region would have their ICT laboratories upgraded to support the learning of the subject.
“We will continue to whip up the interest of our daughters to enable them to acquire the relevant skills that are needed to enhance their opportunity as they develop their careers in the industry to make them competitive.”
“We want you to be interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and careers. We want to demystify ICT and narrow the gender digital divide.”