In a bid to support Ghana’s fight to combat the growing spate of online crime, local non-profit organization, CyberGhana, has set up five new fully-equipped cyber security engineering centres in five tertiary educational institutions across the country.
The centres seek to build cyber security and cyber engineering workforce across the country.
The centres in the Cape Coast Technical University, Sunyani Technical University, Koforidua Technical University, Bolgatanga Technical University and the Ghana Baptist University College, will serve as centres for the training of students and professionals from various fields to acquaint themselves with relevant skills to counter cyber threats.
Ghana Baptist University College, on April 9, 2021, became the fifth tertiary educational institution in Ghana to benefit from the initiative which will enable the institution to offer short courses on cyber security as well as BSc and MSc in cyber programmes.
The project is an extension of the National Initiative for Cyber Engineering, Science and Technology Educational Programme (NICESTEP CyberLabs) cyber security project, which is jointly funded by CyberGhana, the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, UK, and the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The Executive Director of CyberGhana and Project Manager of NICESTEP Cyber Labs, Sam Aduafo Owusu, said the project is intended to provide consultancy services on cyber security and forensics as well as hands-on training for interested persons to pioneer artificial knowledge studies in the country.
Against the backdrop of the country losing an estimated 6.8 million dollars through cyber fraud as well as $2.7 million to intrusion and stealing in 2019, Mr. Owusu said the project includes a series of training workshops for members of the military, law enforcement, and other security agencies to build capacity to combat the threat.
According to Mr. Owusu, aside from crime prevention, cyber security and cyber engineering training and education also provide an avenue for employment, which in itself is a way of preventing crime.
He said the alarming rate of cybercrime (locally referred to as sakawa in Ghana), can largely be attributed to the high unemployment rate among young people in Ghana and the sub-region, a situation that can be reversed through projects such as NICESTEP CyberLabs.
“Globally, there are over three million unfilled cyber security job openings. We have several students graduating every year who have no jobs available; so we want to train students to have hands-on skills to secure some of these available vacancies, while also protecting our cyberspaces,” he added.
CyberGhana’s NICESTEP project falls in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 4, 5, 8, and 9. The project has also been listed among the top 21 ‘Engineering X Projects,’ which seeks to promote teaching and learning of cyber security engineering in Ghana to help bridge the gap between engineering in academia and real issues that exist in the industry.
Each facility is supported by web and cloud-based resources required for teaching and learning cyber engineering. The web and cloud-based resources have the latest security systems and software packages to enable a greater number of people to access and work remotely.