MTN Ghana Foundation on Monday unveiled its Education Flagship Project in Accra to construct 10 Information Communication Technology (ICT) learning centres across the country. The $670,000 ICT centres project being constructed in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other stakeholders would enhance ICT education in the country.
British High Commissioner to South Africa, Dr. Paul Boateng, and the first of man of African descent to have served in the British Cabinet, is the Patron of the project, which would site one ICT centre in each region.
The Executive Director of MTN Ghana Foundation, Ms. Mawuena Dumor, said the Education Flagship project had brought the Foundation’s commitment in support of health and education into its full circle. She recalled that the Foundation last April committed $600,000 into its Health Flagship Project for the refurbishment of the Labour Ward at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
She said MTN acknowledged that organisational success was no longer solely based on profit margins, but on the extent of investments made in addressing the long-term social and economic needs of communities it operated in. Ms Dumor explained that the centres would therefore be sited at districts with low access to Internet facilities, but the Foundation was yet to decide on the exact locations.
The Executive Director said the ICT centres which would serve as a training centre for tutors and students and for commercial services would be managed by MTN, UNDP with support from the district assemblies. She reiterated MTN’s continuous support for social interventions that would further enrich the lives of Ghanaians.
Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana, Mr. Brett Goschen, stated that the project would help to deploy ICT literacy to deprived communities in support of government’s effort to bridge the digital divide between the served and the underserved. He said the project would also support the new Education Reform by providing access to ICT tools that would make the curriculum practical and beneficial in creating employable skills in communities.
“We at MTN believe that the ICT centres will help in the overall objective of poverty reduction and support in the achievement in the Millennium Development Goals,” he added. Mr. Goschen urged students and teachers who would be privileged to have the facilities to avail themselves to the opportunity to upgrade their skills.
UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Daouda Toure, also said ICT was crucial in enabling the country to attain Goal 8 of the MDGs that targets good governance, development and poverty reduction. He commended MTN for the support and appealed to other corporate entities to emulate the gesture.
The Minister of Education, Science and Sports, Professor Dominic Fobih, in a speech, entreated the Foundation to guard against attempts by some persons to use centres for internet fraud or cyber criminology.
Dr. Boateng, who also chaired the launch, lauded MTN for such public-private sector collaborative effort, saying “We must celebrate this commitment since government alone could not address problems in the country.” He called for a blend of traditionalism with modernity in efforts to enable the African continent to attain its cherished dreams.