Government tasked to lead ICT integration

Accra, Jan. 10, GNA – Participants at the on-going 65th Annual New Year School and Conference, have called on government to lead the move for integrating Information and Communication Technology (ICT) fully into all sectors of the economy.

The call is to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the integration of ICT usage , promote local software development, improve knowledge and education, as well as publicize authentic sources of these facilities for sourcing.

The participants insisted that current available ICT facilities such as local software programmes, hardware and internet connectivity, are largely provided by either the private sector or individual entrepreneurs, which makes access very difficult.

Again knowledge of the existence of such facilities are limited and unknown to majority of Ghanaians, mostly those living outside the capital and cities, and this has created a gap in the actualization the need for and potentials of ICT in Ghana, they argued.

Their submissions were made during an open forum to discuss the topic: ” ICT, Entrepreneurship and Business and the Youth”, as a sub-theme of the broader topic on “Information and Communication Technology-Driven Education for Sustainable Human Development: Challenges and Prospects,” for the School and Conference.

The participants noted that when an open education on where, what and how to secure information on available ICT resources, training and services are well structured, people will be encouraged to source for them without difficulty, as it is at the moment.

They further urged government to institute stringent measures and policies aimed at speeding up the digitalization processes of its Ministries, Departments and Agencies and also at the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly levels.

This, they said, would empower the assemblies to decentralize their systems to also hasten their services and support, to particularly, educational institutions and entrepreneurship training in their catchment areas.

Mr Kofi Bentil, Vice President of IMANI Ghana, who was the resource person for the discussions, however, advocated for positive attitudes of Ghanaians towards the use of ICT.

He said although the digital age presents very huge challenges to the country’s education and businesses, the ability to succumb them would depend largely on the ability to capitalise effectively on the obstacles to bring about change.

“We can only achieve this through the use of ICT”, he said.

He indicated that the use of technology had become a must in the present age, assessing it in terms of time, quality, cost effectiveness, efficiency and value.

Mr Bentil further explained that technology was seen as an enabling tool that allow people to do things than they used to do better, and has inherent value provided it was properly utilized.

According to him, technology has brought about wider opportunities in the areas of which entrepreneurship which may be presented in areas of service provision and skills development programmes.

He said at the entrepreneurial level these can manifest in the business of software development, procurement of hardware for clients, servicing of ICT facilities for those who need them and training for teachers and others who may require the service.

He stated that the youth have inherent ICT potentials which could enable them to become movers of Ghana’s vision to attain a Middle-Income status if they were helped to fully develop through entrepreneurial and skills development to unleash these potentials for such businesses.

He indicated that Ghana was far behind in terms of ICT usage, and needed to catch up quickly with the rest of the world by “leap flogging’ and using the youth as its major tool to achieve the development required.

He, therefore, sided with the view of the participants that although there was abundant infrastructure, the need for strong leadership was critical to ensure a sustainable ICT-Driven economy for a sustainable national development.

The 65th Annual New Year School and Conference which was organised by the Institute of Continuing and Distance Education of the University of Ghana, aimed at creating the platform for a dispassionate discussion of how the objectives of the ICT in Education Policy could be achieved.

It further sought to look for pragmatic solutions to the challenges inherent in the education sector, and how best to integrate ICT into teaching, learning, and outreach at all levels of the educational system.

The occasion, therefore, provided a common platform for stakeholders from diverse backgrounds, including parliamentarians, District Assembly Members and Civil Society organisations to discuss how to create strong institutional collaborations to meet these objectives.


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