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NGCC: NCC’s digital gender, youth engagement for ICT literacy and skills

Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman of NCC Board of Commissioners (3rd right), Presents the Star Prize of N1.5 million to At-tarbiyyah STEM School, Emerging 1st Overall in the Maiden NGCC, at NCC Head Office, Abuja, FCT

*The Nigerian Communications Commission engages secondary school girls across different geopolitical zones of the country on interests and talents in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Coding, rewarding the winners of the maiden ‘Nigeria Girls Can Code Competition’ with N3 million

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

As part of the telecoms sector regulator’s mandate to implement provisions of the Nigeria Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has organised the ‘Nigeria Girls Can Code Competition’ (NGCC) initiative and rewarded the winners with N3 million.

ConsumerConnect reports the Innov8 Hub, in collaboration with the Commission, played host at the maiden edition of the programme created for secondary school girls from different geopolitical zones in the West African country.

Photo Collage of the winners, panel of judges and participants at the maiden NGCC

This year’s maiden edition of the NGCC initiative specifically, focused on the young women’s interests and talents in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Coding.

READ: Digital Literacy Enabling Nigerians To Acquire Cutting-edge Skills –Danbatta

In an earlier announcement, the NCC had disclosed that the programme basically aims to engage the secondary schools’ girls as part of measures to advance digital literacy and skills in line with the catch-them-young global initiative.

It is also said that the move hinted at a paradigm shift in the gender imbalance of S.T.E.M in Nigeria.

RELATED: NCC EVC/CEO Urges Nigerian Youths On Proper Application Of Digital Skills, ICT Tools

The young participants had debated on innovative ways to address the challenges of food security through the application of the 5G technology in the country’s economy.

Participants in the NGCC

Ahead of the grand finale of the three-day competition with the theme, “Innovative Ways to Address the Challenges of Food Insecurity through the Application of 5G Technology”, 11 schools actually participated, 36  schools responded from the initial 54 invited for the maiden NGCC besides four-man Panel of Judges.

NGCC aims to address digital inequality in ICT, says Prof. Akande, NCC Board Chairman

In his address at the awards ceremony Wednesday, February 1, 2023, in Abuja, Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman of NCC Board of Commissioners, unveiled the winners of the maiden edition of NGCC.

READ: Telecoms Regulatory Instruments To Facilitate 5G Deployment, Tackle Insecurity In Nigeria ─NCC

Akande restated that the competition was designed to address the challenges of digital inequality in the information communications technology (ICT) sector.

How NDEPS focuses on digital literacy and skills -NCC

The NCC Board Chairman also said: “Winners of this competition were selected based on the application functionality, innovation, accessibility, commercial potential and overall national impact.”

“The telecoms regulator is committed to achieving Pillar 2 of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030, which focuses on digital literacy and skills.

READ: Kano To Drive e-Governance, Digital Economy With Enhanced Capacity Building

“For the competition, the NCC sent invitations to 54 secondary schools but only 36 responded with 12 indicating interest.”

He further disclosed “however, out of the 12 only 11 participated with four judges, namely: Agwu Amugo, SAGE Nigeria (Chairman); Martha Alade of Favour Women in Technology in Nigeria (WITIN); the Administrative Secretary of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Paul Uzoechina; and Halima Mohammed of the NCC.”

Competition designed to empower girls in technology: Danbatta

Speaking at the event, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Commission, said the competition was initiated to empower girls in technology.

READ: Policymakers, Stakeholders Converge On Abuja For Regional Digital Economy Conference

Danbatta, represented on the occasion by Ubale Maska, Commissioner of Technical Services at NCC, commended the initiative and its positive effect on gender balance in the digital ecosystem.

He noted that empowering women and girls would fuel thriving economies, and particularly advance productivity and growth in Nigeria.

The EVC/CEO stated: “The inclusion of girls in the ICT is in line with the United Nations (UN) efforts to empower girls in tech and close the digital gender gap.

READ: 5G Networks Deployment Places Nigeria Ahead Of Other Countries On African Continent –Mafab Chair

Danbatta as well said: “The competition has been designed to enhance digital literacy and skills for the country’s emerging digital economy, bridge digital inequality, improve digital access as well as narrow the digital divide between men and women in ICT innovation and development.

“The Nigerian girl can code competition is also framed to support technology skills learning for girls and promote broader national audience amongst others.”

The winners and their rewards

After the participants presented their projects to the Judges, they were asked relevant questions on their respective projects and subsequently appraised.

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Following the announcement of the results and winners, the award ceremony held on the third day of the NGCC in the Conference Hall of the Corporate Headquarters of NCC, in Abuja.

In Commission’s quest to reward all participants in the maiden ‘Nigeria Girls Can Code Competition’, it was learnt the regulator gave a basic cash award of N200,000 to all participating schools in the country.

RELATED: Danbatta Slated To Chair 2022 International Women’s Day Lecture

The Ambassadors School from Ota in Ogun State, finished in 3rd place, and was awarded a cash prize of N500,000.

The Federal Government College, Maiduguri, in Borno State, finished in 2nd place, and was awarded a cash prize of N1,000,000.

READ: Danbatta Urges Nigerian Youths To Utilise ICT For Future Living, Leadership

Interestingly, the moment arrived for the winner to be announced at the event, and At-tarbiyyah STEM School, Abuja, came 1st overall, and was awarded a cash prize of N1,500,000.

Earlier in his address, Mr. Newton Monye, technical facilitator from Innov8 Hub, followed leading to the moment when the winners were eventually unveiled.

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