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The National Cybersecurity Challenge to involve 50 Schools

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In order to evaluate pupils’ cybersecurity awareness at the senior high school (SHS) level nationwide, the battle lines have been formed.

It comes after the second National Cybersecurity Challenge, an initiative of the Cyber Security Authority (CSA) designed to raise awareness of cyber safety among SHS students.

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The National Cybersecurity Challenge, with the subject “Empowering the next generation,” is quickly evolving to be one of the most significant challenges for challenging students at the SHS level.

The second edition of the challenge will take off this month with 50 SHSs in the 16 regions, selected through a criterion designed by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to battle among themselves through regional, zonal and the final contest for the coveted crown.

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The final of the competition will be held in October as part of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) 2023.

Strong collaboration

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The acting Director in charge of Child Online Protection at CSA, Afua Brown-Eyeson, at the launch of the competition in Accra, stated that the authority was happy to collaborate with stakeholders on the challenge, which sought to create the needed awareness of child online safety.

She explained that with the purpose of the competition, the country had been divided into four zones, which included northern, middle, eastern and southern and the winners of those zones would compete at the grand final in October to become cyber security champions.

“Before the competition, the contestants will be taken through the child online protection (COP) provisions in the Cybersecurity Act, (Act 1038), 2020, digital footprint, social engineering, and open-source intelligence, among others.

“The challenge is a government initiative aimed at promoting cyber safety and awareness among senior high school students,” she said.

Ms Brown-Eyeson said Internet penetration in Ghana had increased exponentially from 2.31 million in 2012 to 17 million users in 2022, which was 53 per cent of the population.

“As of January 2022, Ghana was ranked 3rd globally in the use of social media, an indication of the reliance of the population on the Internet for various spheres of life including education, lifestyle, businesses, and entertainment.

“Among the active users of the Internet are children, which leave them exposed to cyber-attacks,” she said.

In recent years, she said there had been several major cyber incidents that significantly impacted schools and children worldwide.

Equipping children

The director observed that equipping children with cybersecurity skills at this age was required to keep them safe online and prevent them from causing harm to their peers.

She said the government had shown enormous commitment to the online safety of young people by passing the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038) which criminalised various online cases of abuse against children.

It has also developed the National Child Online Protection Framework, which would be submitted to the Cabinet for approval soon.

The context

The CSA successfully organised the first-ever cybersecurity competition for SHSs in the country among six schools selected from five regions in Accra on October 17, 2022.

With Presbyterian Boys Senior High School (PRESEC) emerging winners of the 2022 competition, the contestants were provided with hands-on experience to equip them with the knowledge and essential skills required to stay safe online and pursue careers in cybersecurity.

This year’s contest has been extended to include 50 schools and a broadcast journalist of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Kafui Dey, announced as ambassador for the competition.


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