Govt seeks Microsoft’s support in training the disabled

Vice President Amissah-Arthur welcoming  Mr Brads Smith,  Executive Vice President of Microsoft, to his office.

Vice President Amissah-Arthur welcoming Mr Brads Smith, Executive Vice President of Microsoft, to his office.

The Vice-President, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, has asked Microsoft Corporation to partner the government to offer special training skills in Information, Communication Technology (ICT) to the physically-challenged and vulnerable women.

That, he said, would enable them to participate fully in the economy.

He stressed that empowering such groups with the requisite skills in ICT, would significantly enhance the country’s human resource base.

Vice-President Amissah-Arthur was conferring with a delegation from the Microsoft Corporation on the issue of employability within the framework of ICT, at the Flagstaff House, Kanda, in Accra yesterday.

Led by Brads Smith, Executive Vice-president of Microsoft, the delegation particularly discussed with Mr. Amissah-Arthur, an employability portal launched by the corporation to provide mentorship to graduating students and support them to plan their careers.

The project, being rolled out in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation and the International Institute for Communication and Development, also provides a platform for people to post jobs on the portal.

Vice-President Amissah-Arthur noted that the advent of technology had made some workers in the public sector virtually redundant, and called for re-training of such workforce to make them more useful.

Additionally, he said ICT had brought, in its wake many positives, especially in the field of education, but expressed concern about its increasing misuse for ‘Sakawa’ (cyber-crime) and other nefarious activities.

“It is the young people who are attracted to technology…but they tend to use it for the wrong reasons, they need some guidance,” the Vice-President emphasized.

Haruna Iddrissu, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, urged Microsoft to partner government to operationalise the National Data Centre in Accra at an affordable level.

He advocated the working out of a new support scheme, in partnership with Microsoft and the Ministry of Education, so that every year, through the newly created Youth Employment Agency, government would make funds available for the training of final year tertiary students in computer technology.

On his part, Mr. Smith noted that it was an exciting time for technology in Ghana and Africa as a whole, in terms of closing the technology gap.

He lauded the government for providing opportunities in that regard, noting the recent launch of the fibre optic backbone project.

Mr. Smith said the company’s portal also provided students access to content on financial management skills, and hoped that within the next 12 months, between 50,000 and 100,000 students would be able to make good use of the portal.

Mr. Derek Appiah, Country Manager of Microsoft, indicated the company’s readiness to collaborate with the government on the issue of employability, especially through its newly launched portal.

By Samuel Nuamah

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