Dec 25, 2016 News
Public Telecommunications Minister, Cathy Hughes, recently disclosed that the E-Government Unit has been quite busy this year, particularly in poor, remote, hinterland areas.
She said that the Unit has installed receivers and internet-ready computers in 14 communities.
Hughes said, too, that community ICT hubs have been set up in Good Hope, Charity, Dartmouth, Bagotville, Buxton, Better Hope, Beterverwagting, Lusignan, Sophia, Trafalgar Union, Port Mourant, Liverpool, Sandvoort, and Vryman’s Erven.
The Minister of Public Telecommunications said that there are now more than 66,000 residents in these communities who have access to the worldwide web at community hubs.
She said, “With this initiative, our Technicians are doing three things simultaneously; they’re installing internet-ready equipment in community centers; they’re training community leaders and children in the use of the internet and they are installing more receivers to connect the computer laboratories in secondary schools.”
Up to November, Hughes said that the Unit had connected over 120 schools on the coastland and in the hinterland.
The Minister said, “Actually, the secondary schools connection programme was put on a fast track to ensure that our children could meet the CXC’s new rule that requires all candidates to submit their SBA assignments online.
“So, we’re not wasting any time. Giving our children and teachers a proper framework for a rounded high quality education is much too important.”
Minister Hughes said there is another element to the community connectivity programme. She said that very shortly, the first three tech support units will be set up in the Regional Democratic Councils compounds in Anna Regina, Linden and New Amsterdam.
She said that the technicians assigned to those units will be the “First Response teams” equipped to fix minor problems, and they will refer the major problems with the community systems and teachers’ laptop computers to their head office.
Minister Hughes also revealed the implementation plan for 2017.
Hughes said that $1.58 Billion is budgeted for investment in E-Government initiatives. Of that, she said that an estimated $114 million is allocated for the provision of public Internet access at over 600 Government buildings across the country.
These Public Internet Access Points (PIAPs) will increase the opportunities and channels through which thousands of public workers will access online resources as part of Government’s aim to reduce the digital divide and increase digital interaction with Government.
Hughes said that very key to this initiative are the Post Offices – especially those located in the communities that are waiting to be connected such as Lethem, Linden, Bartica, Mahdia, Mabaruma, and Port Kaituma.
Hughes said, “An estimated $90 Million will be used to provide ICT access for the Hinterland and for the poor and remote communities. Community ICT hubs and PIAPs will soon be established in Masakenari, Annai, Lethem, Waramadong, Paramakatoi, Aishalton, St. Cuthbert’s Mission, Linden, Bartica, Mahdia, Mabaruma, Port Kaituma, and Kwakawani, in addition to at least 24 other communities across Guyana.”
She continued, “A further 30 Community ICT Hubs are being established as pilots to serve 60,000 residents in parts of Region 2, (Affiance, Onderneeming, Lima Sands), Region 3 (Leonora, Den Amstel, La Parfaite Harmonie, Hauge Lib), Region 4 (Agricola, Mocha Arcadia, Enmore), Region 5 (Ithaca, Bath Settlement), and Region 6 (Whim, Fyrish, Baracara, Skeldon). In the next stage of expansion, communities in Regions One, Seven, Eight, Nine and 10 will also be included.”
The Minister added, “In rural, poor and remote areas, these ‘community centre’ will be independently run by local people, improving residents’ access to information and services, support education for youths and adults. An estimated $30 million has been allocated for these pilots, with the wider project expected to come on stream in the latter half of 2017.”
The Minister said that another $674 million has been allocated to improve connectivity and Internet access to more than 140 Government locations that were already connected to the E-Government Network, and to the 600+ Government locations
Government recognizes the absolute need to boost human ICT capacity. As such, Minister Hughes said that approximately $160 million will be spent on specialized ICT training at the Centre of Excellence in Information Technology (CEIT).
The Minister said that this is in collaboration with the Government of India. She said that this fully renovated and fully equipped Centre will be opened in the new year.
Hughes added that the programme will focus on training-of-trainers in advanced areas of ICT. She said that these master trainers will in turn provide training for up to 500 ICT professionals over two years in a series of advanced ICT areas of specialization.
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