ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication’s ICT for Girls programme has opened doors for IT and modern knowledge for future builders of Pakistan to become entrepreneurs and contributors to national development.

Ministry’s spokesperson told APP that Around 226 computers Labs with allied facilities in educational institutions for girls especially in the rural area of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) are being established.

The labs are being established under present government’s initiative called Prime Minister Education Reforms Programme which was launched with a focus on the uplifting standard of educational institutions in Islamabad.

In collaboration with Microsoft, teachers are primarily trained on Super Skills for the 21st century in addition to the technical domains i.e. cloud computing, web designing, coding, Introduction to databases, basic computer programming, basics of software design and development, a ministry official told APP.

202 teachers have also been placed at these institutions and it will help in making over 110,000 girl students “Computer Literate” studying in Islamabad’s schools and bringing them at par with students elsewhere in the world.

Ministry of IT & Telecom through the USF recently signed an MOU with Huawei at the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, under which they will cooperate in spheres of programme designing, training and sharing successful experiences in regard with broadband services, vertical public services and intelligent digital platforms.

It will help develop National ICT services execution strategy, support Joint Innovation centre (JIC) for empowering women who are benefiting from the USF ICT for Girls programme, he added.

According to Ministry of Information Technology (MoST) the other objective of the programme, launched with the joint effort of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM), Universal Service Fund (USF) and Microsoft, was to help prepare many young girls from an underprivileged area of society, with a goal that they can get suitable occupations.

So far over 150 computer labs have already been established in the country under PBM”s Women Empowerment Centers at a cost of Rs300 million and around 35,000 students are getting training annually.

ICTs for Girls has been playing an active role in knowledge enhancement and ultimately financial independence of women in the country.

Microsoft has been collaborating to provide training to young girls which has been empowering and accrediting them to participate in the socio-economic development and bridging the gender digital divide.

Official sources at Capital Administration and Development Division while listing steps being taken said these labs would provide equitable opportunities to excel and spread benefits of telecom revolution to rural area students in ICT.

In the first phase, Universal Services Fund, a subsidiary of Ministry of Information Technology would establish 107 Computer Labs in rural areas’ educational institutions (primary level) with allied facilities and teaching faculty.

The sources said tentatively these labs shall be available from beginning the new academic session.

Every effort is being made by Federal Directorate of Education, Islamabad to impart quality education to children of ICT including schools situated in rural areas.

Regarding FDE’s steps taken so far, the sources said Islamabad Capital Territory has been divided into six administrative sectors and an officer equivalent to BS-19 heads each administrative area.

Four out of these six areas are located in rural sectors. Since 279 out of 423 Institutions under FDE are located in Rural Setup, hence all initiatives are equally balanced in Rural and Urban sectors.

The sources said the major share of 70 buses reached so far have been provided to Rural Sector Schools while 2147 White Boards & 303 Water Coolers with filters have been installed in educational institutions at cost of Rs. 21.4 million under rehabilitation/uplifting of 200 Institutions-Phase-II.

Renovation/Rehabilitation of physical infrastructure of 200 educational institutions under PMERP in ICT coasting Rs. 2742 million is in process whereas Rs.1000 million has been sanctioned for the scheme.

In phase-III, the remaining institutions will be upgraded and missing facilities if any shall be provided whose cost estimation is in the process through Project Director (phase II) of PMERP.