Dr Hillar Addo, Vice President of Academics, Leadership University College of Applied Sciences (LUCAS) has called for affirmative action support for girls and women pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses.
This, he said would enable girls and women who want to pursue a career in any STEM field to do so, thereby closing the gender gap.
Dr Addo made the appeal at the Second civil society organisations (CSOs) Cybersecurity Workshop in Accra.
The workshop was organised by Africa Cybersecurity Digital Rights Organisation (ACDRO) in partnership with the Global Partners Digital on the theme “Making Our National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy Citizen-Centre”.
The objective of the workshop was to equip CSOs with expert knowledge to enable them to contribute meaningfully to National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy to be more citizen-centric as well as promote the digital rights of the citizenry.
This second CSOs workshop follows the successful organisation of the maiden one in February this year, which focused on awareness creation.
Dr Addo said if Cybersecurity was a problem, the proponents and the developers of the Internet did not see threat, and intrusion like that; adding that they saw in their vision an Internet, a cyberspace, for everyone, comprising multi-stakeholders, working in sync and leading the world into the fourth Industrial Revolution.
He said the original idea of the internet and its developers came from academia; recounting that seven of the 11 giants of the internet (64 per cent) had PhDs and the development of the internet (90 per cent) in all instances took place in specialized university laboratories such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard.
Dr Addo, who said the internet was conceptualized and developed as a technical/engineering tool by academics, also noted that the internet was developed mainly for the purposes of communication.
He said all the internet pioneers worked in specialized university laboratories to develop their ideas or products (ARPARNET), CERN and any current IT application of global use and standard.
“Academia always shared their ideas and saw in people’s vision because they are averse with gaps in knowledge,” he stated.
With regards to the implications of the Information Technology Revolution and the Internet, Dr Addo said: “We are all ushered into a Global village -Globalization Technology is taking over every part of our lives. Every part of society, every waking moment of every day.”
“The future is happening faster and faster – the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Cloud/Ledge computing. Block chain, facial recognition and robotics.”
He said technology was the great leveler, the great unifier, the great creator of new and destroyer of old.
He said technology access and use was the dis-aggregation index between the rich and poor countries and between individuals.
“If we miss the turn of the Digital revolution presented by the Internet. Africa, African countries and for that matter African individuals will end up In the 21st century dominated as It happened when we missed the industrial revolution a century ago,” Dr Addo said.
He advocated for the establishment of specialized scientific laboratories for internet research in public and private universities, such as happened with ARPARNET, National Science Foundation and CERN.
Dr Addo also called for support for academia to create and publish; stating that “Not only publish. Many do not read what we publish.”
He urged multi-stakeholder collaborations with regards to the internet between national and international research organisations, government and government departments, industry, private sector, CSOs and the international community.
He said The World Summit for Information Society (WSIS 2003 GENEVA and 2005 TUNIS) were held to bring Leaders of Governments and all stakeholders of the internet Revolution to take stock, deliberate and collaborate to confirm that no one owns the internet and to leave no one behind during this revolution; stating that “and this is the understanding of academia”.
“With academia working in concert with multi-stakeholder such as government and its departments/ministries, business and the private sector, knowledge/IT engineers, and CSOs and with International collaborations, we could develop the antidote to the monster of cybercrimes”.