Digital Skills for Life
In a world where the rhythm of progress is dictated by technological advancements, the need for digital literacy has emerged as a fundamental requirement for individuals across the spectrum of society. Just as the proverbial river carves its path through the relentless persistence of water, so does the consistent acquisition of digital skills shape our journey through the modern landscape. The term “Digital Skills for Life” encapsulates this notion, signifying not just a fleeting trend, but a lifelong endeavour with far-reaching implications.
The Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) has been over the years evangelizing the transformative power of digital literacy, the importance for its integration into education, and the collective responsibility to ensure equal access for all. It has done this through its Coding Education for Ghana initiatives. If the pages of history have taught us anything, it is that monumental feats are achieved through consistency. A drop of water, falling with unwavering regularity, can over time carve canyons out of solid rock. Similarly, the consistent effort to embrace and refine digital skills leads to a remarkable transformation.
To truly establish digital literacy as a bedrock of modern existence, it is essential to foster a culture of continuous learning. Encouraging individuals to engage with technology regularly, to explore new software and tools, and to remain curious, paves the way for a digitally empowered society. Because of this, the Institute has consistently upheld its stance across various initiatives, aiming to achieve a world where the majority, if not all individuals, possess fundamental digital skills to make meaningful contributions to a progressive economy.
On July 26, 2023, the Coding Caravan arrived at Ofoase D/A JHS in Ofoase-Ayirebi, a community within the Akyemansa District, as it embarked on a dynamic initiative to engage 200 primary school students and 62 educators from the local community in an immersive day of coding education. As a continuation of its successful endeavours in preceding locations, this event ushered the eager young minds into the world of coding through the innovative Scratch Platform, nurturing their ability to craft animations and providing them with fundamental insights into 3D design and printing.
Among the distinguished voices resonating during this enlightening occasion was Nana Agyei Gyimah Kantantinka 2 (Kyidomhene), who acknowledged the transformative potential of ICT education. He noted that what was once a distant aspiration for many has now materialized into a tangible opportunity for these students. Nana Kantantinka II, urged the students to embrace this invaluable chance for growth and learning wholeheartedly, recognizing the profound impact it could have on their educational journey and prospects.
Hon. Kwadwo Oppong Nkrumah, the Member of Parliament for the Constituency, recounted his anticipation since he first heard of the Coding Caravan in 2022. For him, witnessing the Caravan benefit the students within his community was not just an aspiration but a determination to enhance the technological literacy of his constituents. Building on this, Hon. Nkrumah pledged to establish a dedicated ICT and Coding center. The envisioned center would serve as an avenue for expertly trained educators to impart a continuous stream of ICT skills education, ensuring that the community remains at the forefront of technological evolution.
The Coding Caravan’s visit to Ofoase-Ayirebi marks a profound chapter in the journey toward equipping young minds with digital competencies. It underscores the power of collaboration from educators and leaders providing a digitally empowered future, to students ready to grasp the offered knowledge with open hands. As the day gradually ended, it painted a promising future where technology becomes an enabler, bridging gaps, and creating pathways for countless dreams to materialize through the unifying power of knowledge.
Digital Literacy: A Necessity for Our Children’s Future
Now, more than ever, equipping our children with digital literacy skills is akin to providing them with a compass for navigating the complexities of the modern era. Just as we teach them to read and write, teaching them digital literacy is an investment in their future success. The ability to manoeuvre through digital platforms, to discern credible information from the vast sea of data, and to leverage technology for creative expression is no longer a mere skill; it’s a survival tool in the digital age.
The Imperative for Policy Integration in African Countries
While the importance of digital literacy is universally recognized, it holds special significance for African countries. Rapid digitization has the potential to bridge long-standing gaps in education, healthcare, and all aspects of the economy. Integrating digital literacy into national policies is not just a matter of choice; it is a pathway to empowerment. Embracing technology can lead to increased economic opportunities, improved access to information, and enhanced communication networks. With the persistency of digital divides, African countries have a unique opportunity to leapfrog into a future where digital literacy becomes a fundamental right, not a privilege.
Imagine a nation where access to ICT education is not contingent upon socio-economic status. It is a vision where every child, regardless of their background or geographic location, can become digitally literate. Achieving this vision requires collective efforts. The responsibility of nurturing digital literacy does not rest on the shoulders of any single entity. It’s a collaborative endeavour that requires the concerted efforts of parents, educators, governments, and private enterprises. Parents must encourage their children to explore the digital realm with curiosity, just as they would any other subject. Educators must integrate digital skills into their curriculum, ensuring that students not only use technology but understand its nuances. Governments must enact policies that prioritize digital literacy education, embedding it within the core of their educational framework. Private entities, driven by the knowledge that a digitally skilled population is a boon for innovation and progress, should invest in initiatives that expand digital access.
In conclusion, “Digital Skills for Life” is not just a catchphrase; it is a philosophy that underscores the ongoing pursuit of competence in an ever-evolving digital world. The Institute will continue in its agenda to achieve a digitally literate generation of young leaders. You can help by adding to the voice or providing support to realize this future we look forward to.
Author: Deborah Ofori-Dartey, Digital Skills Training Supervisor, IIPGH
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