Ghana can now boast of an ultra-modern Digital Design and Creative Coding Hub facility following the successful official launch of the project at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra by the lnstitute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) with its partner organizations.
According to the IIPGH, this is a partnership between Code it!, and TinkerToys from Germany and funded by the Federal Republic of Germany, Foreign Office of the Creative Resources Programme.
Gracing the launch were top dignitaries including Hon. Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, Deputy Minister-Designate for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, MP-Mampong, Prof. Fred McBagonluri, President Academic City University College, Board Chair Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana, Mr. Ronny Zienert, Head of Unit, Saxon State, Ministry for Regional Development, International Cooperation, Germany, Dr. Peter Kettner, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany Mr. Prince Sefa Deputy Director-General Operations, National Communications Authority (NCA) Board Member of Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana.
The purpose of the Digital Design and Creative Coding Hub is meant to bridge the digital skills gap by making available digital skills like coding and digital design to everybody.
It will also provide access to digital tools and new approaches to teaching and learning needed to improve digital literacy in Ghana and to instigate an international knowledge transfer.
According to Mr. David Gowu, the Executive Director of llPGH, when he addressed the launch, the Coding for kids initiative begun three years ago, designed to amplify the relevance of practical ICT skills development through computer programming.
He said Professionals from IIPGH embraced the concept and embarked on a nationwide campaign through social media, radio and television interviews, workshops, webinars, and structured training sessions in classrooms and online.
The Executive Director said as a result, over 10,000 students were exposed to basic, intermediate, and advanced digital skills with coding as the main focus.
“The activities of IIPGH quickly caught the attention of diaspora partners such as Code for Afrika, Code It!, Tinkertoys, AFOS Foundation all from Germany,” he said.
He said though some of the collaborations, Code It!, Tinkertoys and the IIPGH contemplated the idea of setting up a Hub that was not restricted to only those who could code, but everyone who could use digital tools for designing, creativity, and arts.
Mr. Gowu said the notion that some people particularly girls could not aspire to become software engineers, digital designers, or robotics experts were false.
He said the Coding Hub was here to dismiss that myth by opening the hub as a free facility for young people and girls, in particular, to experience new and emerging technologies and get inspired to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.
“At the hub, we have trained tutors who teach, guide, and mentor our students in Code it! Software to ignite creativity in young people from Primary up to University level including school dropouts and graduates seeking new careers,” he said.
Mr. Gowu said, “we believe innovation starts with these exposures and we are ready to partner government and other organizations to make this a reality for our young people.”
Mr. Richard Kafui Amanfu, the Director of Operations at IIPGH, said they created a space for presenting, testing, and learning about innovative digital technologies to be used in education, art, and business by interested participants.
He said the Hub shall provide training across the spectrum of digital skills ranging from basic to advance for students, teachers, and ICT trainers, as well as all interested participants, exposing them to emerging technologies.
“It will also encourage learning by doing by organizing hackathons, data challenges, and competitions that will enable the youth to develop skills required for a digital economy,” he said.
Mr. Amanfu said the Hub would also be a makerspace and innovation lab that will enable students and young people to test their ideas.
The Director of Operations said the Hub would assist organizations and educational institutions to develop and strengthen ICT training programmes and materials