The Korean government has handed over a disability-friendly modern Information Communication Technology (ICT) laboratory to the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) in Sokode in the Volta Region.
The Korea-Ghana Information Access Centre is aimed at providing the needed infrastructure to support digital transformation in Ghana.
The two governments signed an agreement for the establishment of the Korea-Ghana Information Access Center in 2021.
The agreement was aimed at providing the University of Health and Allied Sciences with a state-of-the-art information technology infrastructure to enhance electronic learning.
Two years on, the Korea-Ghana Information Access Centre (IAC) has been completed and is equipped with an ICT Training room, video conferencing, multimedia and robotic training facilities, and assistive technologies for the vision and hearing-impaired.
The IAC was established with support from the National Information Society Agency of the Republic of Korea with funding through the Ministry of Science and ICT of Korea.
It forms part of the Korean government’s official Development Assistance Project to ensure equal participation of the global citizenry in the information society.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Prof. Lydia Aziato acknowledged the impact of the project and was optimistic it would propel ICT training in the University.
She indicated the center would provide the foundation for the university to train students and health personnel in providing special care to the disabled.
“What we have here at the IAC is not enough, and we want to work with your office [Communication Ministry] to see whether this can be a reality for our people”, she said.
Prof. Aziato thus lobbied the Korean government to provide a similar facility for the Fred Newton Binka School of Public Health, situated in the Hohoe Municipality.
“To Mr. Yang and Dr. Lee of the NIA, South Korea, I would like to appeal that in the next round of establishment in 2025, you positively review our application for another IAC at our Fred Newton Binka School of Public Health located in Hoho/Fodome where the digital divide is even wider. I can assure you that UHAS IACs will be managed as one of your star centres”, she said.
The Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful appreciated the efforts of the Korean government to make available the needed infrastructure to complement the government’s commitment to develop the country’s technological space and advance the digital agenda.
“This official development assistance from the Korean government to Ghana seeks to boost our digitalization efforts by providing digital capacity development to our citizens for whose benefit the government is making all these investments”, she said.
She indicated the University would benefit from the Ghana Digital Acceleration Project which focuses on the training of persons with vision and hearing impairment in ICT and related fields.
“The Ghana Digital Acceleration Project has a component for PWDs, and we will see how to enhance this facility to the benefit of those in this region. More efforts must be made to integrate the communities in which the University is operating so that the location of the IAC does not widen and deepen the digital divides in our society”, she said.
The Director of the Global Digital Transformation Team at the NIA of Korea, Yang Hyun-soo was elated with the effective utilization of the facility within the period after its completion and lauded the management of UHAS.
He stressed that the IAC would be transformed into an innovation hub, with the provision of the needed logistics.
“NIA will not only help the IAC function as a base for internet use but provide active support so the Center can also function as the cradle for Al, big data, cloud, mobile, and other new digital technology education and innovative ideas, which will guide innovation of the society in the digital era.
The IAC at UHAS is the second in Ghana. The first is at the University of Ghana. UHAS’ centre is part of the Global IAC network tasked with the responsibility of developing and implementing programmes and projects.
These projects are strategically aligned to the Ghana ICT for Accelerated Development Policy and thus facilitate Ghana’s digital transformation agenda.