Digital skills shaping the future in Ghana

ITU News

We caught up with Lucas Binnah Koomson, a training instructor on the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications’ (GIFEC) Digital Transformation Centre Project, to learn more about how digital skills training is impacting the present and future in Ghana.

You recently attended the Generation Connect Global Youth Summit in Rwanda. Tell us more about your experience there – what are the top three takeaways or insights you brought back to Ghana?

The experience was inspirational and incomparable. Meeting and connecting with young people from all over the world was great. I had many takeaways, but my top three were:

  1. Being constantly reminded of the power youth hold to change the world.
  2. Being motivated by Generation Connect Visionary Board Member Othman Almoamar’s four questions during his speech: “Who am I? Who do I want to be? What do I want to do? How will I get there?”
  3. The need to shape a safe, inclusive, and sustainable digital future together.

Why did you first join GIFEC as a trainer?

I joined GIFEC as a trainer because of the institution’s impactful projects like the Capacity Awareness Project, Digital Literacy, CodingForKids, and Girls In ICT.

I admired the idea of getting to reach and impact the lives of many. What I loved more was that their projects include people from different backgrounds and groups.

In your experience, what are participants most interested in learning?

From the two Digital Transformation Centre (DTC) beneficiary trainings I have participated in and other GIFEC initiatives, I have observed that most people who feel left out are mostly interested in the basics of computing to help make their lives easier.

They show interest by getting involved in training activities and asking questions on effective ways they can use their mobile phones and personal devices.

They tend to appreciate technology more when they get to understand the processes that are being implemented.

What is your favorite digital skill to teach, and why?

For years, I have been interested in teaching people basic computing. I believe a solid foundation makes transitioning into the tech space easier. I like teaching this skill because it equips participants with everything they need to flourish. I have personally benefited from this; I know everything I teach because I was given the basics and built on those basics.

In your opinion, why is it important that young Ghanaians – and young people generally – are equipped with digital skills?

This was one question that the Generation Connect Global Youth Summit answered in many ways. To quote one of the guest speakers, the Right Honorable Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente (Rwanda):

“Digital skills are increasingly becoming the footing of all jobs. The good news is that the youth are the most technologically ready and more likely to connect than any age group.”

Young Ghanaians and youth, in general, need to be digitally skilled because:

  1. Almost every job now requires some form of digital literacy, so we need digital skills to be able to compete.
  2. We are in the digital age, for us to thrive and evolve in the future we need to be digitally equipped. This is why governments are putting in so much effort to get all citizens on a particular level. This would be easier if we were all skilled somehow.
  3. Young people in general will be the leaders of the digital transition and advancement.

What impact has the training had on your local community? What might this mean for Ghana’s long-term digital development goals?

I will not say that it has been golden throughout; digital change just like any other change is difficult.

For now, we are taking this slowly so that many people can join the transition. People in the local community understand the need for this change, the avenues and resources that have been put in place to help bridge the digital gap, and the steps that need to be taken for this aim to be achieved. This means Ghana’s long-term digital development goals are highly attainable.

What lessons or advice can you share with others who might like to follow in your footsteps as a digital skills trainer?

My advice to others who want to become digital skills trainers is that they should go for it and take it very seriously.

This is how we shape the country’s future; we need more trainers to help get more people into the digital space so that the country can achieve its digital development goals.

What impact have digital skills had on your life, personally?

Personally, the impact that digital skills have had on my life is significant. From thriving in my education to navigating my way through digital spaces, digital skills gave me a sense of purpose and a career path to follow. I don’t know where I would be without the digital skills I have now.

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