One hundred students have received a computer set each from the wife of Ondo State Governor, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu. The gesture was aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the girl child ICT programme organised for girls picked from 23 secondary schools in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
Speaking at the event which held at the Public Service Training Institute, Ilara-Mokin, Mrs Akeredolu expressed optimism that the digitally-empowered girls would deploy the knowledge acquired at the programme to become key players in the global space.
Mrs Akeredolu, who recalled her growing days in Emeabiam, a remote community in Imo State, gave insights to the dream behind the vision.
“I was born when women were not supposed to go to school and all you get is that they prepare you for that graduate husband. That is why I have been championing the cause that God has given me the opportunity to. I am running with it. We need to make extra effort to make our young girls understand that they have the capacity to be more. That is the foundation we are laying now.
“I don’t just want to bridge the gender gap; I want these girls to be part of the solution to our societal problems. Here is the connection. The Solar Girls will fix the panels in their school and the ICT girls will operate the computer. In a few years’ time, we should have a Digital Academy here in Akure- a virtual classroom. That is how to use skills to solve societal problems.”
She further acknowledged the place of ICT and Solar Energy Technology as being able to help in the development of virtual classroom all over the nation, most especially in the remotest villages one can imagine.
Earlier in his remark, the facilitator from SAO Capital, Temitope Runsewe highlighted the skills impacted on the girls while also calling for sustainability of the programme.
Mr. Runsewe, who stated that the digitally-empowered girls will go home with a computer tablet each, reiterated that each of the tablets have been loaded with Jamb Questions, School Curriculum and West African Examination Council (WAEC) syllabus, among others in order to encourage them to continue with the training at home.
In her keynote address, the Managing Director of Mainone Cables, Mrs. Funke Opeke stressed the need to bridge gender gap in ICT as there is less than 10 per cent gender gap in advanced countries while in Africa, it is over 30 per cent.
Mrs. Opeke advised young women to pursue careers in engineering and sciences as it is quite fulfilling, noting that it is part of efforts to close the gender gap in the nations’ drive towards development.
The climax of the event was the distribution of the 100 computer tablets to the girls. Two of the beneficiaries, Ayomiposi Christopher and Bukola Ayodele from St. Dominic’s High School and St. Francis High School, Akure respectively expressed joy at the opportunity given to them to benefit from the programme. They thanked Mrs Akeredolu for impacting their lives.
Ayomiposi Christopher said: “I have never had the opportunity to touch a computer before and I am not sure I would have because I spend most of my holidays washing plates and sweeping as my parents could not afford the cost of an extra lesson.
Okegbemi Olusoji Festus is an Editor/Creative writer at campustori.com, A digital media Executive and a known Social Media Enthusiast.